Louisiana residents on both sides of the aisle think they are paying too much in sales taxes

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 3:57 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (LSU Manship School News Wire) - In 2018, it was only one-sixth of a penny that divided legislators over how much of an expiring penny of sales tax to extend before they compromised on 0.45%.

Now, Louisiana residents on both sides of the aisle think they are paying too much in sales taxes, as indicated by new data from the LSU Public Policy Research Lab.

(Source: LSU Manship School News Wire)

According to a survey that the lab released Tuesday, 61% of Republicans and 53% of Democrats think that the state sales tax is too high - a bipartisan majority of Louisiana residents.

Since July 2018, the state sales tax rate has been 4.45%, a decrease from 5% the state had levied for the two years before that. That 0.45% portion was extended until 2025, and parishes add their own sales taxes to purchases.

Combining state and local sales tax rates, Louisiana has the second-highest average sales tax rate in the nation at an average of 9.55%, according to data from the Tax Foundation.

Despite widespread grievances with sales taxes, 52% of Louisiana residents say they pay about the right amount in overall state taxes. Half of the survey respondents think that upper-income people pay less than their fair share of state taxes, and a majority – 56% – say the same about large businesses.

Support for raising state taxes to fund higher education fell significantly since 2018, by 13 percentage points, but it remained a priority for residents along with elementary and second education; health care; roads, bridges and highways; prisons and incarceration; and welfare, food stamps, and other public assistance programs.

A majority of respondents do not want to reduce spending in any of these areas, but only elementary and secondary education gained a majority in favor of raising taxes to support them.

Infrastructure is a high priority for Louisiana residents. Over two-thirds of respondents favored maintaining existing transportation infrastructure over expanding its capacity.

At 57%, many favored raising state taxes on gasoline to fund transportation infrastructure. This figure represents 60% of Democrats, 46% of Republicans and 62% of independents.

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