BATON ROUGE - Plans to grant practically everyone in the state a tax break this year have taken a back seat to trying to manage a faltering budget.
The Legislature began this session with 154 bills that would grant tax credits and 113 that offer tax exemptions, including increasing the homestead exemption for everyone or just the elderly.
Approval of a majority of the proposals would have taken a bigger chunk out of the budget than the $1.4 billion drop in state revenues that's plaguing lawmakers as they craft a budget to fit revenue projections.
So far, only a handful of tax exemptions has made it to the Senate floor. However, 28 House and 99 Senate tax-related bills are awaiting hearings in the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee. No bill increasing homestead exemption has been approved by either body.
Lawmakers are questioning what would be cut from the budget to cover the additional cost of granting many tax breaks.
Leading the way in both houses are bills that would retain tax credits that in the past several years have made Louisiana a leader in movie production. Only California and New York hosted more films than Louisiana in the past two years.