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Economic Development Priorities Advance in Week Eight of Regular Session

Economic Development Priorities Advance in Week Eight of Regular Session

The House and Senate each had another busy week, advancing several 1A priorities, including protecting Louisiana's economic development toolkit, supporting small business innovation, and reforming the state's overly burdensome occupational licensing laws.

Read on for a breakdown of week eight of the Regular Session.

Economic Development Toolkit

One of 1A’s top priorities this Session is supporting extension of the Quality Jobs (QJ) program, which offers payroll rebates of up to 6% to companies that create high-quality, full-time jobs. To qualify for the program, jobs created must pay at least $18 per hour and offer health benefits.

HB 230 by House Ways and Means Chairman Stuart Bishop would extend the QJ program through 2026. The bill cleared Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs on 5/2 and is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate on Monday, 5/9.

Occupational Licensing

1A is supporting a series of bills to improve Louisiana’s occupational licensing laws. The following measures cleared the House floor last week:

  • HB 639 by Rep. Pressly – would allow job seekers reentering society from the justice system to petition a licensing board to determine if their record would disqualify them from receiving a license before enrolling in any required education or training
  • HB 1062 by Rep. Freeman – would require occupational licensing boards to implement the least restrictive regulation necessary to accomplish fiduciary, public health, safety, or welfare objectives. The bill would also create a standardized process for individuals to challenge regulations they believe do not achieve these objectives

Another occupational licensing measure cleared the Senate Commerce Committee last week:

  • SB 483 by Sen. Cathey – would streamline the process for individuals who are licensed in an occupation in another state to receive an occupational license in that profession when they move to Louisiana, provided both states have licenses in that occupation

Transportation Funding

Last week, House Ways and Means approved HB 1018 by Rep. Edmonds, which would set aside revenues from the temporary, .45-cent state sales tax set to expire in 2025 to fund transportation infrastructure. Specific portions of the revenue would be dedicated to three state megaprojects, to be allocated as follows:

  1. 20%, not to exceed $66.7 million annually, for I-49 South from Lafayette to New Orleans
  2. 30%, not to exceed $100 million annually, for a new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge
  3. 50%, not to exceed $166.7 million annually, for a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge

Any monies exceeding the above-listed amounts each year would be deposited into the Non-Federal Eligible Highway Program Subfund for use by DOTD on project delivery, construction, and maintenance of other road and bridge projects across the state.

HB 1018 was reported favorably by a vote of 12-2 in House Ways and Means and is scheduled to be considered by House Appropriations on 5/9.

Small Business Innovation

1A is also supporting a series of bills by Rep. Willard and Rep. Pressly, HB 786, HB 795, and HB 796, which aim to foster greater entrepreneurship and economic diversification in Louisiana by providing state grants to small businesses that are applying for, or have received, certain federal grants: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The proposal would also provide funding to recruit out-of-state businesses that have successfully utilized SBIR and STTR grants to encourage them to come and innovate in Louisiana.

All three bills were reported favorably as amended by House Appropriations on 5/2 and are scheduled to be considered in the full House on 5/11.

Looking Ahead

Additional 1A-supported priorities are on expected on this week’s schedule, including:

  • 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. Under the bill, a new, 8-member Commission, with equal representation from state and local government, will administer sales tax collection, auditing, and dispute resolution. HB 681 is scheduled for a hearing in Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs on 5/9
  • SB 12 would extend the Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive (CPPI) through 2026. CPPI provides payroll and capital expenditure rebates for businesses that create new net jobs in Louisiana while demonstrating significant out-of-state sales. SB 12 is scheduled for a hearing in House Ways and Means on 5/9
  • SB 41 would extend the Quality Jobs (QJ) program through 2026. QJ helps Louisiana attract diverse industries with high-paying jobs to the state. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in House Ways and Means on 5/9

View 1A’s comprehensive bill tracker →

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