LAFAYETTE GENERAL MEDICAL CENTER, INC.
KIMBERLY ROBINSON, SECRETARY, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
FROM THE LOUISIANA BOARD OF TAX APPEALS DOCKET NO. 10437D
HONORABLE TONY GRAPHIA; CADE R. COLE, FRANCES "JAY"
LOBRANO, BOARD MEMBERS, PRESIDING
R. Adams, III Andre B. Burvant Matthew A. Mantle Jones
Walker, LLP COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Lafayette General Medical
Russell J. Stutes, Jr. Stutes & Lavergne, LLC COUNSEL FOR
APPELLEE: Louisiana Department of Revenue
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and D.
Kent Savoie, Judges.
R. COOKS JUDGE.
Lafayette General Medical Center, Inc. (hereafter LGMC),
appeals the judgment of the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals
granting summary judgment in favor of Kimberly Lewis
Robinson, in her official capacity as Secretary of the
Department of Revenue, State of Louisiana (hereafter
Department). For the following reasons, we reverse the grant
of summary judgment in favor of the Department and grant
summary judgment in favor of LGMC.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
notes, the issue in this appeal concerns whether, during the
November 2016 sales tax period, the Louisiana
Constitution's prohibition against state general sales
and use taxes on "prescription drugs" set forth in
La.Const. Art. VII § 2.2(B)(3) prohibits the imposition
of those taxes on purchases by LGMC of medical devices, such
as pacemakers, stents, artificial limbs, etc., used in the
treatment of patients.
Louisiana Legislature in the 1st Extraordinary
Session of 2016 passed Acts 25 and 26, both of which went
into effect April 1, 2016, and were to expire on June 30,
2018. The Acts suspended nearly all exclusions and exemptions
from two pennies of Louisiana sales and use tax and added an
additional penny, which was imposed with a similarly reduced
set of exemptions and exclusions. The exemption of medical
devices does not specifically appear anywhere in the list of
preserved exemptions. There was an exemption for
"prescription drugs" expressly listed in Acts 25
and 26. The list in both Acts 25 and 26 contains the
following statement in the list of preserved exemptions:
Prescription drugs, as provided in Article VII, § 2.2 of
the Constitution of Louisiana.
VII, § 2.2 of the Louisiana Constitution provides in
(B) Effective July 1, 2003 the sales and use tax imposed by
the state of Louisiana or by a political subdivision whose
boundaries are coterminous with those of the state shall not
apply to sales or purchases of the following items:
(3) Prescription drugs.
maintained the phrase "prescription drugs" found in
Section 2.2 extended to "medical devices." LGMC
argued it was the goal and intent of the constitutional
prohibition to permanently cement into the Louisiana
Constitution the statutory exemption for "drugs
prescribed by a physician or dentist" in La.R.S.
47:305(D)(1)(j), which had previously included
pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and not allow it to be
suspended or otherwise affected based simply on revenue
needs. LGMC's argument was largely based on La.R.S.
47:301(20), which provides in pertinent part:
As used in this Chapter the following words, terms, and
phrases have the meanings ascribed to them in this section,
unless the context clearly ...