Study says Louisiana hosted largest tax increase in U.S.

Louisiana implemented the largest tax increase in the United States in 2016, according to a 50-state survey compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The report estimates the overall increase in Louisiana at $1.5 billion, driven by changes in the state sales tax structure that were approved by the Legislature and governor during last year’s regular session.

South Dakota was the closest to the Bayou State’s tax burden, with its net revenue boost weighing in at $107 million.

To put that into perspective, more than half of the total net increase seen nationally in 2016 came from Louisiana alone, based on the report’s math.

Nationwide there was an estimated net tax increase of $2.3 billion last year, with Louisiana being one of only six states that implemented tax hikes. Five states, including Mississippi, actually decreased taxes through legislative action last year and 39 others made no changes at all.Dems ponder pro-Stokes PACWith a field of only Republican candidates angling for treasurer and no marketable names surfacing from the other side, there are plans quietly coming together for a possible political action committee, funded primarily by Democrats, to support state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner.

But nothing is etched in stone quite yet.

The sales pitch would be straightforward, those involved say — Democrats could end up with a Republican who would mimic the brand U.S. Sen. John Kennedy put in place, which was geared towards criticizing whoever was governor, or they could back a candidate who has little to no record of throwing political bombs.

For the purposes of the ask, of course, the latter refers to Stokes. And the protection referenced in the sales pitch would be for Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has proven himself as a prolific fundraiser if nothing else.

The idea mirrors the emerging strategy of the Stokes campaign, which seems to be banking on crossover appeal.

During the recent treasurer forum hosted by the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Stokes spent some time talking about “working across party lines” and how party wouldn’t guide her decision-making.

The possibility of a PAC is certainly not an encouraging sign for those hoping a big-name Democrat gets in the contest.

LaPolitics has cycled through a number of personalities who could run statewide, but none of the Democrats interviewed seem eager to bite.

New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards is in the race, but local politicos consider it a true challenge for him to solidify the Crescent City and to raise enough money to compete elsewhere.

But all hope is not lost for Democrats. Qualifying doesn’t commence until July 12 and recruitment efforts are underway.

Other major Republicans running include Angele Davis of Baton Rouge, state Rep. John Schroder of Covington and state Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia.Supremes to GOP: NoThe U.S. Supreme Court has stuck a fork in the fundraising challenge filed by the Louisiana Republican Party.

Justices last week affirmed an earlier ruling from a three-judge court on a looser framework for the use of certain donations raised by state and local parties.

Attorneys for the state party argued that the current system prohibits parties from using state-regulated contributions for traditional party activities, even if the activities involve communications done with no candidate coordination.

GOP diehards had hoped a decision in their favor, to lift this prohibition, would have paved the way for unlimited donations, like super PACs presently enjoy.

EWE’s partyA big birthday party is being planned for former Gov. Edwin Edwards. But it’ll cost you.

Tickets are said to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $250, with all of the proceeds benefiting the birthday boy.

The event, scheduled for Aug. 12, will coincide with the paperback release of the EWE bio that was penned by Leo Honeycutt.

The other Gov. Edwards — sitting Gov. John Bel Edwards — has received his invitation.Political History: Seersucker and you“Seersucker Thursday” on Capitol Hill was kicked off in 1996 by lobbyist and then-U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi. Today it’s U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge who’s helping lead the striped charge.

It’s scheduled for June 8 this year, which is when senators will be sporting their best puckered prints and posing for a morning snapshot at the Ohio Clock in the U.S. Capitol.

Lobbyists and staffers will be seersuckered up as well. The tradition seems to grow a little each year, which is fortunate.

The political holiday was actually scrubbed from Beltway calendars in 2012 when legislators were worried that such fashion-forward fun would send the wrong message during what was supposed to be a very serious term.

Those were dark times for seersucker enthusiasts.

The next year, in 2013, a Missouri state senator tried to push an amendment banning most residents from wearing seersucker suits because, as the lawmaker put it, they “look ridiculous.” That effort — it actually happened — went down in flames.

In 2014, Cassidy, then in the House, revived Seersucker Thursday alongside U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who got the upper chamber involved again and who still the co-sponsor.

For a bit of historical context, Cassidy put the following into the Congressional Record recently: “The storied history of this uniquely American fashion dates back to 1909 when Joseph Haspel designed the first seersucker suit at his Broad Street facility in New Orleans. Louisiana is proud to have played an important part in introducing the country to seersucker apparel. During the hot summer months, Americans across the country have worn and enjoyed this lightweight cotton fabric, known for its signature pucker. Mr. Haspel said it best, ‘hot is hot, no matter what you do for a living.’”

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