Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield told lawmakers Tuesday that he expects the state to collect $100 million in back-owed taxes through an amnesty period planned for later this year.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield told lawmakers Tuesday that he expects the state to collect $100 million in back-owed taxes through an amnesty period planned for later this year.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's $25 billion budget proposal assumes the tax amnesty program will bring in the $100 million and uses the money in the health department for ongoing services.
"I feel confident we can get that goal," Barfield told the House Appropriations Committee, which is doing an agency-by-agency review of Jindal's spending recommendations.
Barfield said he expects most of the collections to come from businesses that owe corporate franchise and income taxes.
A recent amnesty period allowed delinquent taxpayers to get caught up on their tax bills without any penalties and with only half the interest charges they would have otherwise owed. It brought in $435 million, though $67 million of that was repaid with tax credits.
The next amnesty period will be less generous in the penalties and interest that are waived. Lawmakers are considering how to set those parameters.
Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would give the legislative auditor greater ability to track state tax dollars paying for students to go to private schools through the statewide voucher program.
Under the bill (Senate Bill 460) by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, the private schools would have to keep the dollars either in a separate account or use an accounting procedure that allows the auditor's office to track the receipt and spending of the money.
The voucher program is slated to receive $46 million in next year's budget.
Richard Bordelon, a lawyer representing the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Catholic schools participating in the voucher program don't have a way to separate out the spending. He said the dollars are used in the schools' general operating budget to pay for salaries, utilities and regular expenses.
"There needs to be a responsible way for the taxpayer to know ... or don't take the money," Adley said.
Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said outside auditors who reviewed 118 voucher schools couldn't track how public dollars were spent at nearly all the schools or determine compliance with a requirement that voucher money be spent on educational purposes.
The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Adley's bill without objection Tuesday, sending it to the full Senate for debate.
In other legislative action, a public official recalled and removed from office would be barred from running again for that job in the special election called to fill the position after the recall, under a bill (Senate Bill 208) that received the backing of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sen. Greg Tarver, D-Shreveport, opposed the proposal by Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, but couldn't get enough votes to kill the bill. It moves next to the full Senate for debate.
"You can go back and forth if you want to, but I can read the queen's English."
- Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, suggesting lawmakers were reading too much into one of his amendment proposals.