Louisiana House spurns first large money-raising tax bill

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana House has taken up its first significant proposal to fill a looming budget hole. And lawmakers in the chamber resoundingly rejected it.

Tuesday’s vote raises questions about whether the majority-Republican chamber will take any actions this session to make a dent in the more than $1 billion budget gap that hits in mid-2018, when temporary sales taxes passed by lawmakers expire.

Only 22 lawmakers voted for Rep. Jay Morris’ bill to scrap millions in sales tax breaks. Seventy-nine opposed it.

As he realized lawmakers would spurn his bill, Morris chastised them for ignoring the future gap, saying: “Acknowledge the problem is real and face the reality.”

The House could reconsider the bill, but it has shown resistance to anything considered a tax hike.