Medicaid expansion savings maxed out

The Democratic chairman of the House tax committee sided with his Republican colleagues Wednesday to bottle up one of the main money-raising tax bills sought by Gov. John Bel Edwards in the special legislative session.

Ways and Means Chairman Neil Abramson cast the tie-breaking vote to stall the Democratic governor’s proposal to decrease an income tax break given to upper-income earners. The committee voted 10-9 against the bill, keeping it from advancing to full House debate.

The proposal by Rep. Rob Shadoin, R-Ruston, would have raised $117 million to fill gaps in next year’s budget by cutting breaks for taxpayers who itemize deductions on their income tax returns.

Shadoin said 74 percent of individual taxpayers don’t itemize for things like home mortgage interest payments, charitable contributions and medical costs. The change would return Louisiana to where the tax break was in 2007, from allowing 100 percent of those excess itemized deductions to 57.5 percent.

Supporters said state government needs the money to keep health, education and other programs from facing steep cuts in the financial year that begins July 1, when Louisiana faces a $600

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