Louisiana legislators on Tuesday advanced a long slate of tax cuts and incentives that could be worth well over $100 million, The Center Square reports.
The bills still have a long way to go before reaching the governor’s desk, however, and the bills’ authors have repeatedly promised to address opponents’ concerns about losing state revenue.
Supporters say they wanted to boost the prospects of businesses harmed by recent restrictions meant to control the spread of COVID-19, and said keeping companies open will keep people working and support state and local tax bases.
“These businesses are struggling,” says Jason DeCuir, who chairs a business-heavy task force chosen by legislative leaders to set an economic recovery agenda.
HB17, for example, which suspends the state’s corporate franchise tax, could put a few hundred extra dollars in the business owner’s pocket, enough to pay a utility bill, DeCuir says. The suspension applies only to the first $300,000 of a company’s assets, so the benefit would be most meaningful for small businesses, he says.
The change would keep an estimated $40.8 million out of state coffers over five years, and no revenue offsets or spending cuts were discussed to make up the difference. Some lawmakers said doling out tax breaks in past sessions helped lead to a structural deficit the state only recently escaped.
HB13, another measure the House Ways and Means Committee advanced Tuesday, would extend the life of the state’s Enterprise Zone program, meant to encourage investment in low-income areas, to retailers, restaurants and bars. Louisiana’s economic development department generally doesn’t incentivize jobs that don’t offer benefits or above-average wages, Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson says. Read the full story.