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MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Louisiana looking to collect tax from Katrina evacuees

Voting is a privilege, and paying taxes is a responsibility. New Orleans residents scattered by Hurricane Katrina are about to be reminded that the two go together.

Those who cast absentee ballots in the April 22 mayor's race will be reaffirming their status as Louisiana residents who owe state income tax if they earned money, even out of state. They will also be providing their current addresses to the state Department of Revenue because absentee ballot addresses are public record.

State Rep. Joel Robideaux wants to warn them about the tax consequences of voting, but Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans calls this "an intimidation tactic to try to influence people not to vote."

Mr. Richmond chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, and many of New Orleans' voters are black. His concerns about intimidation are not surprising, but would he prefer that these people unwittingly invite the state to send them a tax bill?

Something tells us those taxes will be harder to dodge than a hurricane.

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