House agrees to 18-month state sales tax hike

by The Associated Press

The Louisiana House has agreed to raise the state sales tax by another penny of every dollar spent.

With a 76-27 vote Thursday, lawmakers voted to boost Louisiana's 4-cent sales tax to 5 cents, without many of the exemptions allowed on the other four pennies of the tax.

Support from the House gave Gov. John Bel Edwards a major victory, since the sales tax hike forms the cornerstone of his budget balancing plan for the special legislative session.

The measure headed to the Senate is estimated to raise more than $210 million for this year's budget before the financial year ends June 30, and nearly $900 million annually.

Before lawmakers backed the bill, they added an 18-month expiration date and exempted manufacturing machinery and equipment purchases from the tax.