Louisiana’s tax code is driving jobs and opportunities to other states.
To address this problem and help hardworking Louisiana families, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy launched a campaign in the Spring of 2021 to simplify Louisiana’s tax code by phasing out the franchise tax and reducing income taxes on corporations and individuals.
The franchise tax is known as one of the worst forms of taxation for business, and only around a dozen states levy this type of tax. Pelican reminded lawmakers that phasing out the franchise tax will make Louisiana a much more attractive state for business investment.
In addition to eliminating deductions and reducing income tax rates, Pelican was also successful in persuading state lawmakers to add revenue triggers to the bill to ensure that any growth caused by the reform package is reinvested to buy down rates in coming years.
Pelican’s target audiences were conservative legislators and activists in Louisiana. The Institute educated the grassroots in the state about the importance of tax reform, encouraging them to contact their lawmakers and make their voice heard. This bill required a coalition of lawmakers from different philosophical backgrounds, as it required a supermajority of votes to pass.
Pelican reached activists in the state through their thoughtful owned audience strategy, radio interviews, and digital traffic ads. Pelican’s digital traffic ads included an animated explainer video, petition signs, and action links.
One of Pelican’s most effective tools was their “Take Action” website which allowed activists to email their legislators directly from their website. The Pelican team also made frequent rounds on conservative radio shows across the state to keep the talk show hosts up to date with information about the package and to quell any concerns they had. This enabled influential media to continually inform listeners and activists. Pelican also placed op-eds in outlets across the state. In an op-ed for The Advocate, Pelican pointed out simplifying the state’s tax code would grow Louisiana’s GDP by four percent and add 15,000 jobs.
By informing and persuading activists in the state, Pelican was able to contact the Institute’s primary audience—conservative legislators—through a variety of channels. On top of direct outreach to lawmakers, Pelican used targeted video ads, activist emails, and informative one-pagers. Pelican leaned heavily on their reputation and background as the conservative tax policy thought leader in the state to ensure the integrity of the package and convince lawmakers to begin the process of fixing Louisiana’s tax code.
On June 10, 2021, the Louisiana Legislature passed the Louisiana Tax Simplification Package—legislation that will create greater stability and predictability, lower income tax rates, eliminate the punishing franchise tax for 85 percent of filers, and guarantee that growth of state income will be used to lower rates in coming years.
For their successful campaign to simplify Louisiana’s tax code, the Pelican Institute is a finalist in State Policy Network’s Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement, in the Best Issue Campaign category.