Month One in the Books, Busy Week Ahead

Month One in the Books, Busy Week Ahead

Packed committee schedules made for a hectic week four of the 2022 Regular Session, and the late-file deadline for legislation added a bevy of new bills for legislators and stakeholders to review. 1A-supported measures continued advancing through the process, including legislation to streamline Louisiana’s complex sales tax collection system. Expect another frenzied week to kick off today.

Below is a full rundown of last week’s action and a look at the week ahead.

Centralized Sales Tax Collection

A top 1A legislative priority is HB 681 by Speaker Clay Schexnayder. This Constitutional Amendment establishes the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission to modernize and simplify our tax system for Louisiana’s small businesses. This new 8-member Commission will have equal representation from state and local government and will administer sales tax collection, auditing, and dispute resolution. This common-sense reform puts Louisiana’s businesses on a level playing field with online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair.

HB 681 cleared the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee on April 5 and is scheduled to be debated by the full House this Tuesday, April 12.

Join 1A in responding to LABI’s call-to-action →

Dual Enrollment Counseling

On Wednesday, the House approved HB 333 by Rep. Ken Brass, which would require the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to provide information on dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and more to counselors who are advising parents and students about early college opportunities. HB 333 was unanimously approved in the House on 4/4 and is now pending a hearing in Senate Education.

Reverse Transfer

Last week, the House Education Committee considered HB 231 by Rep. Ken Brass, which provides for the transfer of academic credit from public postsecondary education institutions that grant bachelor's degrees to institutions that grant associate degrees. 1A supports the measure as part of our 55 by 25 initiative, which aims to increase the proportion of working-age adults in Acadiana with postsecondary degrees, certificates, or other high-value credentials to 55 percent by 2025. HB 231 was passed out of committee unanimously, with amendments, and is scheduled to be considered by the full House this Tuesday, April 12.

Occupational Licensing

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee considered HB 287 by Rep. Matthew Willard, which would require that occupational license taxes levied annually on computer programming businesses be set at a flat rate. Current law – last updated in the 1980s – does not appropriately classify these companies. In practice, computer programming services are being taxed at the same rate as retailers, which are subject to a $6,200 minimum annual tax, whereas other companies designated as “Professional Services,” such as accountants and engineers, are charged a flat fee based on revenue, at a maximum of $2,000.

HB 287 is needed to modernize Louisiana’s outdated occupational license tax statute. The bill passed the House unanimously on 4/5 and now heads to the Senate.

Severance Tax on Oil

 Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee considered two bills that would have reduced the severance tax on oil. HB 167 by Rep. Phillip Devillier would have reduced the severance tax rate from 12.5% to 8.5% by 2030, but was voluntarily deferred following opposition from local government stakeholders. HB 716 by Rep. Danny McCormick aimed to reduce the severance tax on oil, natural gas and certain distillate to zero by 2030, but was voluntarily deferred after facing bipartisan opposition.

Acadiana Red and White Day at the State Capitol

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 12, is Acadiana Red and White Day at the State Capitol. This year, regional partners are thrilled to spend the day celebrating the Carnegie Research 1 (R1) Designation of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 1A is joining the Acadiana Planning Commission (APC), the Lafayette Airport Commission, Lafayette Consolidated Government, Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (LCVC), and the UL Lafayette Alumni Association in bringing Acadiana to Baton Rouge to celebrate the University’s momentous achievement.

Looking Ahead

In committee this week, 1A is opposing SB 151 by Sen. Pope, a Constitutional Amendment that would enshrine Governor Edwards’ executive orders modifying the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) into the State Constitution. ITEP is one of the most effective economic development tools at Louisiana’s disposal, supporting direct and indirect job creation in our state for the last 60 years. SB 151 would weaken ITEP by locking cumbersome rules for the program into the State Constitution. The bill is scheduled for Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs on 4/11.

Join 1A in responding to LABI’s call-to-action to oppose SB 151 →

Be on the lookout for major debates in the coming weeks, including how to spend $2.8 billion in one-time money from federal pandemic aid and state budget surpluses.

View 1A’s comprehensive bill tracker →

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