As the 2021 regular legislative session wrapped up Thursday, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry singled out a list of bills passed by the Legislature that the organization believes can change the Louisiana business climate for the better. “We were proud to assist their efforts, from streamlining our sales tax collections to demanding transparency in education spending to funding critical infrastructure,” says LABI President Stephen Waguespack. “The bills passed this session—with great bipartisan support—will untangle Louisiana’s confusing tax code and improve the business climate for those in our state as well as those looking to invest here.”
These are the top business bills passed, according to LABI:
• HB199 by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, if approved at the polls this fall, will create a more streamlined state and local sales tax system in Louisiana by establishing a new statewide political subdivision that will be responsible for streamlining filings, remittance and audits of sales and use taxes. This will put Louisiana’s brick-and-mortar retailers on equal footing with remote sellers such as Wayfair.
• The tax simplification package, comprising several bills by Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin; Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette; and Rep. Neil Riser, R-Columbia; will collectively lower income tax rates, remove the federal income tax deduction mandate, reduce the number of tax brackets and simplify state income tax administration.
Transportation infrastructure funding
• HB514 by Speaker pro tem Tanner Magee, R-Houma, as amended, phases in a rededication of proceeds from the state’s current vehicle sales tax to the construction subfund of the Transportation Trust Fund. This bill will eventually shift up to $300 million (60%) to projects such as replacing the 1-10 Calcasieu River bridge in Lake Charles, building a new Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, creating a new I-49 and I-10 interchange in Lafayette and more.
Ending enhanced unemployment
• HB183 by Rep. Chad Brown, D-Plaquemine, would end the federal enhanced unemployment benefits by no later than July 31, 2021.