When I reached retirement age in 1999, I had two basic criteria for the selection of my retirement location: warm climate and no state income tax for retirees.
Then I further refined my choice by looking at the quality of life offered by the different areas of the states that met these criteria. At that time, Louisiana was actively courting retirees to settle or relocate here with the promise that state and local governments understood their specific needs and valued their contributions to a more robust economy.
Ultimately, Southeast Louisiana proved to be the clear winner for my wife and me, and we decided to stay in Slidell rather than retire out of state. We have never had reason to regret our choice.
However, I have steadily lost purchasing power to inflation over the years, and I can ill-afford the additional loss that would result from a shift of state taxes from an income tax to a sales tax. I also view such a change as a violation of the trust I placed in the state of Louisiana when I chose to stay here many years ago rather than move to another state.
Additionally, this is essentially the movement of a tax burden from the wealthy and the working middle class to those who are already financially vulnerable, including retirees living in the state who have given much to Louisiana in their more productive years. The state Legislature should not support this tax shift. If it does, there should at least be an option at the retail level for people older than 65 to opt out of the tax.
State mottoes may be said to reflect the character and beliefs of the citizens of the state. Louisiana’s motto is “Union, Justice, and Confidence.” This regressive tax change is divisively unjust and destroys the confidence of our state’s retirees in their future economic security.
The state Legislature should not implement this misguided and high-risk tax change, which serves political ambition more than the needs of the citizens of the state of Louisiana.
H. Dean Barks
retired civilian employee of the Navy
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