The first week of the legislative session is usually slow and handles mostly non-controversial issues to get everyone’s feet wet; that was not the case this year. The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee hit the ground running with significant pieces of tax reform legislation moving in the opening days of the session. Most of the other committees stuck to the traditional slower start, but many vital programs came under the gun quickly. This week will see more of the same, with Ways and Means and Revenue and Fiscal Affairs moving with more tax reform proposals as the Education Committees get to work.The bills coming out of the Ways and Means and Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committees affect the tax rates for personal and corporate income. The proposals out of the Ways and Means Committee impact corporate income tax rates: HB 292 and 293 (Riser) eliminate the federal corporate income tax deduction and sets the rate at a flat rate of 6 percent. On the other hand, the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee approached individual income tax rates and the franchise tax. SB 159 (Allain) eliminates federal personal income tax deduction and sets the maximum rate at 5 percent, while SB 161 (Allain) suspends a portion of the franchise tax for four years. These bills will be up for debate before the full House and Senate, respectively, this afternoon. The extension of the film tax credit in SB 173 (Hewitt) passed Revenue and Fiscal Affairs and will be on the Senate floor later this week.This coming week the fast pace continues with more tax reform bills. Ways and Means is dealing with tax reform bills on personal income tax, property taxes, and sales taxes. Many of these bills follow similar concepts to the bills passed last week and others vary considerably. The committee hasn’t indicated if it will not let multiple bills on similar subjects be heard or if it will move multiple items forward, having adopted both approaches in the past.The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee hears several bills related to tax exemptions and credits this morning. Three bills of interest are:
- SB 11 (Talbot) Provides an individual and corporate income tax exemption for state and federal COVID-19 relief benefits.
- SB 31 (Cathey) Provides an exemption from state individual income tax for digital nomads (remote workers).
- SB 208 (Foil) Establishes the Invest Louisiana Small Business Development Fund and authorizes a premium tax credit for small business growth investments made by qualified investors.
Later in the week, the House and Senate Educations Committees are expected to hear bills related to early childhood education, improving literacy rates, and workforce development. The House Education Committee will hear HB 253 (McKnight), a literacy program for public school students named after the late Rep. Steve Carter. Meanwhile, Senate Education will receive testimony on the MJ Foster Promise Program, SB 148 (Cortez), which provides financial assistance to adults earning credentials that lead to higher paying jobs.
The second week is when the session really gets underway as the House and Senate floors start to debate bills, and the committees get deeper into their work.
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 email@example.com for details. View BRAC’s 2021 legislative priorities here.
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.