Baton Rouge, La. (April 20, 2017) — Louisianans from across the state are standing firm in their opposition to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ economic policy decisions, particularly as they pertain to the administration’s record tax increases and the lagging economy resulting from them, according to a new Truth in Politics (TIP) poll released today.
Louisianans are generally pessimistic about the current economic conditions in the state, according to the poll, which is the first of many to be released by TIP. Respondents listed jobs and the economy as the No. 1 concern that needs to be addressed by the governor and legislature, with budget and tax reform also coming in near the top. Adding to this is the fact that more than 70 percent of those surveyed said employment opportunities are either scarce or hard to get in Louisiana, and more than 60 percent also said they expect business conditions to stay the same or get worse in the next six months.
Among the major economic topics surveyed were Gov. Edwards’ newly proposed gross receipts tax, or commercial activity tax (CAT), on Louisiana businesses, the proposed 23-cent gasoline tax increase, the tax burdens placed on oil and gas businesses and the importance of the industry to the state’s economic growth. Approximately 40 percent of respondents agreed that state government already taxes and spends too much revenue, and this sentiment translated to their views on Gov. Edwards’ new tax propositions.
When informed of Gov. Edwards’ proposed 2018 budget, which represents the highest spending per capita in the South, nearly 80 percent of respondents said Louisiana either spends too much, taxes too high or both.
Nearly half of all those polled strongly opposed establishing the CAT in Louisiana, and 55 percent strongly opposed establishing the tax when informed of the potential economic impact and job loss that could result from it. This negative perception of the gross receipts tax comes on the heels of a recent Forbes article, which quoted many top economists as calling the proposal “terrible,” “misguided” and “the most harmful” form of taxation. As for the proposed 23-cent hike on the gasoline sales tax, approximately 75 percent of Louisianans surveyed expressed their opposition to it.
The poll also reinforced the fact that Louisianans remain strongly supportive of and appreciative for the state’s oil and gas businesses, as more than 80 percent of those polled agreed Louisiana should foster a favorable business climate to protect and grow industry jobs in the state. Additionally, more than 50 percent said they view oil and gas employers as vitally important job creators and tax contributors that should be taxed the same as other Louisiana businesses.
The public’s perception of the importance of supporting Louisiana’s oil and gas industry appears to be in sharp contrast to Gov. Edwards and his administration’s often hostile relationship with companies in the sector. Business groups, local political figures and citizens around the state have expressed to Gov. Edwards the need for encouraging business investments in Louisiana, but his unbalanced tax policies and abusive lawsuits against industry companies, big and small, directly discourage future investments and limit job growth.
“Gov. John Bel Edwards’ failed tax and spend policies are hurting our state’s economy and Louisianans are taking notice,” said Kelli Bottger, executive director of TIP. “Gov. Edwards has already raised our taxes to historic levels, and now he wants even more, which would only hurt our economy further. Louisianans are waking up to this administration’s failed leadership.”
The poll, which was conducted by national survey research firm Baselice & Associates, collected and analyzed the opinions of 500 Louisiana residents. Outreach to participants was split nearly evenly between landline and cell phone communication.
TIP will release further poll results in the coming days, which will reveal opinions on Gov. Edwards’ overall perception among citizens, as well as feelings on his education policies and other important issues. Visit TruthInPolitics.com for more information and updates, and follow the organization on Facebook at facebook.com/TruthInPoliticsLouisiana or on Twitter at twitter.com/TruthInPolLA.
About Truth in Politics
Truth in Politics (TIP) is a 501(c)(4) organization whose purpose is to bring truth to Louisiana politics, deliver the facts about bad policies that hurt Louisiana and build grassroots support for alternative approaches to our state’s challenges.