Gov. John Bel Edwards has said tax reform will be a major item on his 2017 legislative agenda. Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary, Kimberly Lewis Robinson, sat on a state Tax Task Force that has provided recommendations to provide a fair, simple and stable tax code.

She says to simplify the system, the recommend the elimination of some tax exemptions and deductions.

“We are recommending broadening the sales tax base by eliminating certain exemptions, specifically those exemptions that were eliminated from the clean penny when it was enacted during the first special session. We’re also recommending doing away with that clean penny,” Robinson said.

Robinson says in order to be competitive, Louisiana needs a 4% sales tax, rather than a 5% rate, which lawmakers approved earlier this year. She says currently the largest percentage of the budget comes from sales tax collections, which isn’t fair to consumers or businesses.

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“We have the highest sales tax in the country. That’s not good for our citizens, nor is it good from an economic development standpoint. So we need to be able to move back to the 4% rate,” Robinson said.

Robinson says for a fair tax system, we have to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share of taxes. She says that means applying sales taxes to all kinds of retailers.

“When you buy online from Amazon or Overstock, they have not been collecting sales tax for most of the states that they’re in, but if you go to a bricks and mortar store, you’re going to pay sales tax,” Robinson said.