The right-leaning Tax Foundation’s annual breakdown of state and local sales tax rates finds Louisiana third in the nation for the highest combined sales taxes. Currently, Pelican State consumers pay an average 8.87 percent, ranking behind Tennessee (9.44 percent) and Arizona (9.16 percent) and ahead of Washington (8.86 percent) and Oklahoma (8.67 percent) in the top five.
The states with the lowest average sales tax burden are Alaska (1.69 percent), Hawaii (4.35 percent), Maine (5 percent), Virginia (5 percent), and Wyoming (5.34 percent).
The foundation’s analysis was released Feb. 11, three days after The Advocate reported that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration showed state lawmakers a broad outline for repealing Louisiana’s personal and corporate income taxes and making up for the budget shortfall by hiking the state sales tax to 5.78 percent — a nearly 2 percent increase over the current 4 percent state sales tax. Jindal’s plan also includes hiking cigarette taxes by $1 and eliminating some tax exemptions.
If Jindal’s plan as reported is approved in the spring legislative session, Louisiana’s average state/local sales tax burden would rise to 10.65 percent, making it the highest in the nation.