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Letters: Small businesses desperately need a new system for sales tax collection

Letter to the Editor from Elizabeth Abdalla:

I’m proud to have owned and operated Abform Workwear out of Lafayette for 40 years. I love this city and the state of Louisiana — this is my home.

However, one area where we need to improve is our complicated sales tax collection system.

Small businesses like mine are falling behind because our state constitution requires Louisiana businesses to file sales taxes with more than 50 local tax collectors, while most states have just one. Out-of-state retailers like Wayfair have the benefit of filing sales taxes through one simple online portal, giving them a competitive advantage.

Abform does business in all 64 parishes in Louisiana. In some towns across the state, there could be one tax rate for one side of the street and a different rate for the other. Abform currently operates with 12 employees — our team is not large enough to easily absorb the overhead it takes to track down the correct collectors and file a different set of paperwork for each one. In neighboring states like Texas, it takes just a few minutes to file sales taxes online.

Constitutional Amendment No. 1 will create a commission made up of an equal representation of local and state stakeholders. They will design a streamlined sales tax collection system to work better for small businesses like Abform. Please join me in simplifying our tax code for Louisiana’s small businesses by voting yes on Amendment 1 on Nov. 13.

ELIZABETH ABDALLA

Abform Workwear

Lafayette

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