A bill to allow voters to decide on streamlined sales tax collections gained final approval in the Legislature, but the move did not draw favorable response locally.
House Bill 199 by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, would establish one agency to collect both state and local portions of the sales tax.
The bill was geared to streamline the tax collection process, simplify the payment process for businesses and distribute the money to the respective jurisdictions.
Pointe Coupee Parish President Major Thibaut, who previously served with Schexnayder in the state House, said he believes it could pose more hardship than benefit.
“It could have a big effect,” Thibaut said. “I realize that centralized tax collection is what most states do and supposedly, it’s a better way to do business.”
The problem lies in state government, he said.
“I don’t have a lot of faith in our state government, particularly the Department of Revenue, developing the program and not having a lot of major problems,” Thibaut said.
“I’d rather keep it in-house where we continue to collect it, but we will see what the voters choose to do.”
The measure would require a constitutional amendment, which have to be approved by voters.
Approval would lead to creation of the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission, an eight-member board that would oversee and simplify the collection process.
Thibaut said it’s hard to determine how voters would respond to the proposal.
“Would it pass? If you’d ask me to lay my money down on whether it passes, I’d say it would depend on how its marketed and how the ballot language is,” he said. “If it’s unclear, people aren’t going to vote for it.”