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In the public debate over Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco''s plan for LA Citizens refunds, it has been suggested a refund in the form of a tax credit would be the fastest and most cost effective form of delivering rate relief. That is not accurate.
In fact, the Louisiana Department of Revenue is fully prepared to issue the Citizens Insurance rate relief refunds at the directive of the Governor. The department will receive the necessary data, i.e. the name of the insured, the amount due, and then simply print the checks. We stand ready to execute this process in rapid fashion once the Legislature appropriates the funds.
Some have questioned our ability to timely process the Citizens Insurance refund by erroneously analogizing the proposed insurance relief refund to the Natural Disaster Sales Tax (NDST) refunds. Let me assure you the two processes are dramatically different. The NDST has resulted in 82,000 claims being filed. Alarmingly, 47% of these claims have been identified as suspicious or fraudulent. While the department strives to process refunds quickly the significant fraudulent claims have caused us to take longer than normal, but we are charged first and foremost with fiscal responsibility and being good stewards of public monies. We will not compromise this responsibility under any circumstances.
For whatever reason, some have spoken with authority and created some concern about a grant program proposed by the Governor. It is unfortunate that such misleading and inaccurate information is being shared. The good news is that the Department of Revenue has all of the procedures in place to efficiently process the refunds.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue’s mission is to administer the applicable tax laws of the state of Louisiana as well as regulations concerning alcohol, tobacco and charitable gaming.
Cynthia Bridges, Secretary
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