Lawmakers begin a special session tonight at 6:30 pm to attempt to raise $600 million to close the budget deficit for next fiscal year.

LSU economist Jim Richardson also serves as the chairman of the task force for long term budget reform and says to raise that much money, lawmakers will likely have to alter personal income taxes.

“Which will be either reducing or eliminating the excess itemized deductions, or you would have to change the brackets, which you are able to do constitutionally,” Richardson said.

State Capitol observers say a key to bill to watch in the session is House Bill 11 which would limit federal itemized deductions on income taxes. Richardson says reducing or removing these deductions could affect a lot of Louisiana taxpayers, particularly those with higher personal incomes.

“A young couple that is buying a home for the first time could be affected by it. Somebody who gives a great deal to charities may be affected by it, but for the most part it will probably be pushed up to the higher income brackets,” Richardson said.

The call for the special session also calls for changes to income tax brackets. Richardson says this approach would impact most taxpayers.

“It will not be enormously large sums of money per taxpayer, but they will see it, they will notice it,” Richardson said.

Richardson says legislators will probably not do anything with the sales tax, other than cleaning up some exemptions that should have been placed on the increase in the last special session.