A conference committee is trying to iron out differences in the House and Senate versions of House Bill 642, legislation on how to spend money the state received under the federal America Rescue Plan.
The current version of the bill, introduced by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, includes $90 million for grants to help expand broadband into rural communities. It also would allocate $300 million to help replenish the state unemployment trust fund and $190 million to repay federal loans used to pay benefits to people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
NFIB is encouraging lawmakers to leave both expenditures in the final version of the bill.
Several pieces of legislation that are part of Louisiana’s sweeping tax reform package have also gone to a conference committee. As things stand now, the package would:
- Place a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would allow Louisiana to move to a centralized sales tax collection method. This change would greatly improve the burden on Louisiana-based small businesses who are already competing with outside and online businesses as well as improve Louisiana’s business tax ranking. It also would bring the state into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision regarding online sales tax collection. Currently, we are one of a few states that doesn’t have this type of collection method.
- Place a second constitutional amendment on the ballot that would unlink Louisiana’s income tax rates from the federal rates by removing the federal income tax deduction and lowering the individual and corporate income tax rates to around 4.5%. This change would provide stability to the tax structure of the state by decoupling our rates so that when federal tax rates decrease so would Louisiana tax rates. When the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed, Louisiana businesses did not fully benefit from the tax savings like other states due to our current structure. Instead, the state enjoyed a roughly $300 million surplus and did not return any of those dollars to individuals or businesses in the way of lower rates.
We will continue to watch this package of legislation and advocate on behalf of small business owners. Real tax reform in Louisiana would be meaningful to the growth of our economy over the long term and that starts with Main Street.