Scott Jordan

Sen. McPherson gets 'cutesy' with tax-repeal vote

There are lots of adjectives to describe the qualities that voters hope for in politicians. Committed. Principled. Decisive. But when there’s $302 million in annual tax reductions for Louisiana taxpayers at stake, Democratic state Sen. Joe McPherson can leave you speechless.

Senate Bill 87 started out as legislation proposed by Shreveport Republican Sen. Buddy Shaw to repeal income tax increases included in the 2002 Stelly Plan.  Abbeville Democratic Sen. Nick Gautreaux upped the ante with an amendment that calls for a full repeal of Louisiana personal income taxes, to be phased in over 10 years. Pretty heady stuff -- it’ll reportedly cost the treasury $4 billion if it passes. Gautreaux’s amendment passed 19-18, and the Times-Picayune has a brilliant understated account of the vote:

Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, apologized to his colleagues for voting in favor of Gautreaux’s amendment, providing the winning margin. He said he voted for the amendment in the expectation that it would fail, and would have switched his vote to “no” had he realized it was the winning margin.
“I can count and I saw it was going to lose and I wanted to be on the record as doing away with income taxes,” said McPherson, who acknowledged that he was trying to be “cutesy” with his vote.

How comforting. Potentially historic legislation that would impact the finances of every Louisiana taxpayer and prompt a major overhaul of the state budget, and McPherson thinks it’s time to be “cutesy.”