By Kathy Finn
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Republican Governor Bobby Jindal said on Thursday he wants to eliminate all Louisiana personal and corporate income taxes to simplify the state's tax code and make it more friendly to business.
The governor did not release details of his proposal, but his office released a statement confirming that the taxes are targets of a broader tax reform plan.
"Our goal is to eliminate all personal income tax and all corporate income tax in a revenue neutral manner," Jindal said in the statement.
He did not confirm reports that he will seek an increase in sales taxes in order to offset lost income tax revenue, but said: "We want to keep the sales tax as low and flat as possible."
Political analyst John Maginnis, who on Thursday reported in his email newsletter LaPolitics Weekly that Jindal will propose balancing the tax loss by raising the sales tax, now at 4 percent, said the strategy fits with the governor's interest in keeping a high national profile.
"Just proposing a plan on the scale being discussed would win Jindal acclaim among fiscal conservatives here and nationwide," Maginnis told Reuters.
Jindal is often mentioned for national office including the U.S. Senate and as a possible presidential candidate.
Louisiana's neighbor Texas has had no income tax for years, relying on a windfall from its rich energy resources and other forms of taxation. Other states in the region governed by Republicans are trying to copy Texas, including Oklahoma and Kansas, which have both considered lowering taxes.
But political analyst Maginnis questioned whether the Republican-majority Louisiana legislature would endorse Jindal's ambitious plan.
"Any tax increase (such as sales tax) or elimination of exemptions would require a two-thirds vote, a form of legislative approval that would require (Republican) solidarity and significant Democratic support," Maginnis said.
Jindal said his team will meet with lawmakers soon to discuss details of his tax reform plan.
"Eliminating personal income taxes will put more money back into the pockets of Louisiana families and will change a complex tax code into a more simple system that will make Louisiana more attractive to companies who want to invest here and create jobs," he said.
(Reporting by Greg McCune; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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