Fannin: Stop passing tax breaks

The chairman of the Louisiana House budget-writing committee urged his colleagues Thursday to stop passing bills that could exacerbate the state’s annual budget shortfalls by expanding or creating tax breaks.

State Rep. Jim Fannin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, made an impassioned plea in opposition to a bill that would make new businesses eligible for an existing tax break. He said the state’s “giving away $6 billion” in tax breaks annually, despite years of budget cuts.

“You want more money for health care. You want more money for higher education. But you keep giving it all away, and you won’t raise revenue,” Fannin, D-Jonesboro, told the House members.

He said lawmakers need to make some tough decisions about their priorities.

“You’re on a train wreck with the way that we’re headed with revenue and our expenses in this state,” Fannin said.

After the chairman’s speech, the tax break bill failed to get the 53 votes it needed for passage, instead receiving 48 supporting votes.