Temporary suspension of deduction could save higher education.

Louisiana CapitolIn the most surprising turn of the legislative session thus far, a Senate committee approved a plan that would temporarily suspend some tax breaks to avert calamitous cuts to higher education.

SB 335 by Sen. Lydia Jackson (D-Shreveport) was introduced with the blessing of Senate President Joel Chaisson II (D-Destrehan) Senate budget committee chairman Mike Michot (R-Lafayette) and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, among others.

The bill would put a three-year freeze on the portion of federal itemized deductions that Louisiana residents can deduct on their state income tax filings. That deduction, eliminated by the Stelly Plan reforms of 2000, was reinstated as part of the avalanche of tax breaks granted over the past six years.

As explained by reporter Bill Barrow in The Times Picayune, “Louisiana residents were able under current law to deduct 65 percent of their federal excess itemized deduction amount when figuring their state taxable income for 2008. Current law would raise that to 100 percent when filers submit their 2009 returns next year. Jackson's bill simply would delay that increase until the filing of 2012 returns.”

The bill would bring in an additional $118 million, and would partially offset the crippling $200 million higher education cut in Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposed budget. The governor has indicated that he will veto the bill if it passes.

Supporters say the bill is crucial to avoid devastating cuts to universities, colleges and technical schools around the state. There are simply no other options available to raise the kind of money necessary to avert higher education disaster.

Tell your senator to vote for SB 335: Please click here.


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