Louisiana has one of biggest gaps between its richest, poorest residents

BY ELIZABETH CRISP | ECRISP@THEADVOCATE.COM  DEC 15, 2016
 
A national nonpartisan research group that focuses on reducing poverty is calling on Louisiana leaders to embrace tax policies that set out to reverse a growing income inequality among the state's residents.
 
Louisiana has one of the largest disparities between its poorest residents and the richest, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' analysis released this week. The report found only New York, California and Connecticut have a larger gap than Louisiana between average income for the state's wealthiest and low-income households.
 
"State policy choices can make matters worse or they can improve them," said Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fellow Liz McNichol, the report's author. "Reducing inequality should be a priority of decision makers."
 
The Louisiana Legislature is expected to next year mull tax proposals as it sets out to fix the state budget, which has been caught in a cycle of deficits in recent years.
 
"2017 in Louisiana represents, really, the best chance we've had in almost a generation to make some structural changes in our tax code to begin to address some of these things," said Jan Moller, director of the Louisiana Budget Project, which advocates on behalf of low and moderate income households and joined CBPP for the release of the report.