Gov. John Bel Edwards has made his re-election campaign official with the release of a three-minute ad making his case for a second term and unveiling a new campaign website less than nine months out from Election Day.
“Louisiana is moving in the right direction, but we’ve still got lots of work to do,” Edwards says in the video that rolled out Tuesday morning. “Serving as your governor has been one of the greatest honors of my life and, with your support, I look forward to four more years of even greater prosperity and opportunities.”
The ad doesn’t identify Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, as a Democrat. Its timing coincides with the launch of Edwards’ new campaign website JohnBelForLouisiana.com.
Louisiana is an outlier in the southeast when it comes to tax policy. While most states in the region are cutting taxes, Louisiana is raising them.
Shortly after taking office in 2016, Edwards enacted the largest tax increase in Pelican State history, “temporarily” raising the sales tax 25 percent by increasing the rate from 4 percent to 5 percent. This tax hike, which was supposed to completely expire on June 30 of this year, siphoned $1.5 billion a year from the bank accounts of Louisiana taxpayers.
Unfortunately for Louisiana taxpayers, that sales tax hike was only the beginning. While nearly all other governors in the southeast have focused on balancing their state budgets without raising taxes, Edwards remains committed to raising taxes on Louisianans as his primary approach to balancing the state budget. This year alone, Edwards has hit Louisianans with more than $800 million in further tax hikes on top of those instituted shortly after he took office.
The first major tax hike of 2018 came from Edwards’ decision to keep the excess revenue the state will collect as an unintended consequence of federal tax reform. If no actions are taken by state lawmakers, Louisiana will be collecting more revenue than it would have under the old federal tax code due to the way the state tax code conforms to the federal code. This unintentional bump in state revenue collections is not unique to Louisiana. The key difference lies in what state lawmakers decide to do with the new money.