Capitol 411: May 24 Update

The House broke the legislative logjam last week, freeing up the Tax Reform measure to move on to the Senate. BRAC’s legislative agenda also saw major steps forward last week, and with less than three weeks until the legislature adjourns, we expect a hectic schedule until sine die.

With the impasse broken, tax reform instruments moved off the House Floor. HB 278 (Bishop), which sets lower brackets for personal income taxes in exchange for eliminating federal income tax deductibility, was passed on the House floor, with amendments to set triggers for further rate reductions if there is growth in individual income tax collections. This trigger is modeled after North Carolina’s income tax system. HB 274 (Bishop) is the statutory companion of HB 278, and passed on its second attempt. SB 159 (Allain), which sets a maximum personal income tax rate of 4.75%, also cleared the House. These are the major pieces of the legislative leadership’s tax reform package, which is looking increasingly likely to succeed this session.

As mentioned last week, education and workforce issues have continued to move smoothly. HB 85 (McKnight), which creates a literacy program for certain public school students, passed the House. SB 10 (Fields), requiring kindergarten attendance, and HB 563 (Garofalo), allowing the Board of Regents and Department of Education to share data, passed the House Education Committee. Finally, last Thursday, HB 459 (Freiberg), providing for data sharing between the workforce commission and the Board of Regents, passed the Senate Labor Committee and now heads to a final vote on the Senate floor. All of these bills have BRAC’s support.

Two bills BRAC has sponsored advanced as well. SB 227 (Barrow), establishing the Plank Road Economic Development District, passed the House Local, Municipal, and Cultural Affairs Committee with no opposition and will be up for a vote of the whole House very soon. The House did finally pass HB 456 (Edmonds), extending confidentiality provisions for employee data to Louisiana Economic Development projects, sending it to the Senate.

The week ahead has what appears to be a relatively light schedule, as most of the bills on BRAC’s agenda are not yet scheduled in Senate Committees, which do not schedule meetings as far ahead as the House. What is planned now are the State Budget bills in the Senate Finance Committee this afternoon. Also, the House Ways and Means Committee will meet to hear testimony on SB 240 (Luneau), which would limit utilization of income and corporate franchise tax credits to total tax liability, and SB 173 (Hewitt), extending the sunset on the Motion Picture Production Tax Credit. SB 173 is a BRAC-supported bill to continue the recent success of the motion picture industry in the area, like last week’s announcement of the filming of a new Disney+ film at Celtic Studios. The main bill in the House that is currently scheduled is SB 148 (Cortez), the MJ Foster Promise Program, providing $10.5 million annually to upskill and retrain students. BRAC will continue to monitor the committees’ schedules as they are released later in the week.

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 david@brac.org for details. View BRAC’s 2021 legislative priorities here.

David Zoller

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.

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