Senators Blast Businesses For Seeking To Protect Tax Breaks

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Senators grilled business lobbyists on the second-to-last day of the special legislative session, saying companies aren't doing their fair share to help close Louisiana's budget gap.

         Lobbyists for the oil and gas industry, chemical plants and other companies urged the Senate tax committee Tuesday against shrinking sales tax breaks they receive.

         That prompted a blistering rebuke from several members of the committee who said businesses are pushing higher sales taxes on consumers to try to protect their favored tax breaks.

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         Stephen Waguespack, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, said the business economy was fragile and the tax changes under consideration could harm companies.

         Despite the business concerns, the committee without objection boosted the bill's hit to business and then passed it to the full Senate for consideration.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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