With the completion of the 2023 session of the legislature, BRAC is highlighting several wins from its legislative agenda aimed at improving the Capital Region’s economic competitiveness by tackling crime, protecting transitional energy investments, extending import economic development tools, improving the region’s entertainment options, and boosting other important funding projects for the area.
Here’s a look at how BRAC’s efforts to bolster the Capital Region’s economic competitiveness fared during the session.
Transitional energy investments
With the Capital Region poised to become a global leader in transitional energy with $25 billion of projects in the works, BRAC was concerned about efforts early during the legislative session to restrict the growth of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). These bills failed either in committee or on the House Floor. Regarding CCS, the legislature passed HB 571 by Schexnayder, which sets up a framework for CCS projects, including a revenue-sharing arrangement for local governments.
Two related resolutions also passed. HR 229 by Rep. Coussan and SR 123 by Sen. Cortez call for the US Environmental Protection Agency to timely grant the state of Louisiana’s application for primacy in administering Class VI injection well permitting.
Extensions of the Angel Investor, Film, and Research and Development incentive programs
Incentives are an important part of the state’s economic development toolkit, and BRAC supported renewals to all three of these programs. SB 108 by Sen. Harris extends the sunset on the Angel Investor Tax Credit and makes technical updates to the credits allowed for projects located within an Opportunity Zone.
SB 69 by Sen. Foil extended the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. This tax credit encourages companies to invest in innovation and new technology in Louisiana, providing up to a 30% tax credit on qualified research expenditures incurred in Louisiana. Also, HB 408 by Rep. Willard revises provisions of the R&D program to align with the SBIR program.
HB 562 by Schexnayder extends the Film Tax Credit program. The Film Tax Credit program provides state-certified motion picture productions with up to a 40% tax credit on eligible in-state expenditures.
Attract more headline concerts and entertainment
BRAC, Visit Baton Rouge, and the City of Baton Rouge supported the successful passage of HB 450 by Rep. Freiberg to attract more large shows and festivals, expanding the ability for East Baton Rouge Parish to offer a local sales tax rebate on admission to major live music and entertainment events that meet minimum paid attendance requirements.
Locally the Capital Region made out reasonably well thanks to having members in leadership roles. Here are some of the highlights from HB1, HB2 (Capital Outlay), and the supplemental appropriations bills:
- $500,000 to The Greater Baton Rouge Economic Partnership for incentivizing an additional direct flight from the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport
- $13.5 million for the Allied Health Facility at Baton Rouge Community Center
- $26 million for the refurbishment of the LSU Lakes
- $3.3 million to the LSU Library
- $14.7 million for Southern University’s STEM Complex
- $14 million for I-10 at Pecue Lane
- $8 million reauthorization for economic development sites
- $2 million for economic development marketing
Other legislative actions of note
BRAC worked with Rep. Mincey to bring HR 215 (Mincey), requesting the Department of Education and the LA Workforce Commission to study the feasibility of establishing a program to incentivize businesses to work in partnership with high schools to offer job training and internship programs for students, which passed unanimously. BRAC will continue to work on this issue in the future.
Additional information regarding another key piece of legislation will be shared later this week.