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COMMENTARY: Louisiana needs jobs, not more taxes and lawsuits

Today Louisianans are facing a risk that threatens our economy and perhaps even our way of life: more job-killing taxes and lawsuits.

As Louisiana lawmakers count down to the end of the 2017 Regular Legislative Session, Governor John Bel Edwards is still pushing for a variety of tax measures that will likely make it more difficult for businesses and employers to survive in our state. From the proposed tax on every product or service that is bought or sold in Louisiana, to new employer mandates that would wreak havoc on small businesses by exposing them to potential litigation virtually every time they make a compensation decision— the economic landscape Gov. Edwards is cultivating is not one that’s open for business.

Last year, Gov. Edwards raised our taxes by over $1 billion. Over the same time, he also aggressively worked to expand the state’s role in lawsuits targeting Louisiana’s energy industry, and now the state is suing every major provider of oil and gas jobs in Louisiana.

These tax-sue-and-spend policies are further weakening our already struggling state economy.

More than 20,000 Louisiana workers have lost their jobs over the last two years. Today working families are paying $1,500 more in taxes than they did just a couple of years ago. We now have the highest sales taxes in the country and the fourth-worst unemployment rate.

Wages are down. Unemployment is up. By and large, we are paying more and earning less. Our families are struggling, and yet, the governor continues to focus his agenda on creating more taxes, more lawsuits, and more barriers to economic growth.

We cannot afford to continue down this dangerous path.

Now is the time for citizens across the state to call on the governor to refocus his agenda on growing our economy and creating high-paying jobs to get people back to work.

That’s what he said he would do when he was running for office, and that’s what he should do now! On the campaign trail in 2015, candidate Edwards repeatedly told voters, “I believe the best way to raise revenue is not by raising tax rates, it’s by growing the economy.”

Now would be a great time to start living up to that promise. We need jobs. Not more taxes and lawsuits.

By Melissa Landry

Melissa Landry is executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW), a grassroots legal watchdog dedicated to improving the state’s legal climate. Learn more at www.LLAW.org.

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