The 2021 regular legislative session starts today with the Governor’s opening address and will run until June 10. COVID-19 is still on everyone’s mind as we start the slow return to normal. This session is a fiscal session, meaning most legislation will focus on the state’s financial matters. Tax reform and centralized sales tax collection are the major issues leading into the session, with infrastructure funding not far behind. An issue that will be important to follow is where the $3.2 billion the state received in the American Rescue Plan gets allocated. This year is the first fiscal session for the new batch of legislators who took office last year.
As the lead economic development organization for the nine-parish Capital Region, BRAC’s legislative priorities focus on measures necessary to maintain and build upon the economic growth the region has experienced over the last several years. This year’s priorities fall into the broad categories of tax reform, transportation infrastructure, economic competitiveness, education and workforce, and pandemic recovery.
Tax reform has been on the table for years, and this might be the year something happens. The Senate and House Committees on Tax Reform will likely hold their first hearings on the tax reform package later this week. BRAC will specifically be monitoring HB 444 and 202 (Bishop). Any tax reform efforts result in winners and losers; BRAC will be watching closely to ensure that economic development and businesses are not set up to be the losers. We will be working closely with the Capital Region Legislative Delegation to ensure our voice is heard. While the issues may be wide-ranging, each plays a unique and significant role in the economic vitality of the Baton Rouge Area.
BRAC’s priorities for the 2021 regular legislative session include:
- Modernize the tax code;
- Centralize sales tax collection;
- Address the Capital Region’s transportation crisis;
- Protect employees’ personal information, identities and salaries;
- Accelerate North Baton Rouge economic development;
- Support talent development and the MJ Foster Promise Program;
- Expand access to capital;
- Secure Capital Outlay funding for regional projects;
- Ensure responsible allocation of federal funds.
Review BRAC’s legislative priorities in detail at brac.org/legislative-priorities.
BRAC investor businesses are invited to further engage in this work by joining BRAC’s Legislative Committee, which develops and supports issues that promote a positive, proactive economic environment for the Capital Region. Reach out to staff lead David Zoller at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
As BRAC’s Manager of Governmental Affairs, David Zoller is responsible for the organization’s governmental relations and advocacy efforts and managing other projects related to economic competitiveness and quality of life.