Bossier Chamber: Gas Tax heads to House floor next week

The gas tax increase has moved to the House floor after the Ways and Means Committee voted 9-7 on HB 632 by Rep. Steve Carter. More amendments are expected for the House floor hearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24.
Currently, Louisiana’s state tax on gas is 20 cents, the ninth lowest in the nation.
Bossier Chamber of Commerce members, who were polled about the bill, are 67% opposed and 33% in favor.
Here is one of the responses in favor of the tax: Our state infrastructure is in sharp need of repair and investment. For years the state and local governments have put off infrastructure projects that are needed to be addressed.”

This is a comment in opposition: We own a small business that uses multiple vehicles. Small businesses are already struggling in Louisiana with all the taxes and we do not need another one. Legislators needs to stop wasting money and learn how to budget with the money they have. We cannot take anymore taxes!”

Bills being watched for NWLA
As the legislative session continues in Baton Rouge, the Bossier Chamber is keeping an eye on bills that will prove important to our member businesses.
  • HB 651: Rep. Chris Broadwater proposed this bill that would permanently lessen some corporate tax credits and it passed the House on Thursday. The bill, as written, would raise $12.5 million.
  • HB527: The House passed this bill that includes statewide rules for Uber and Lyft. The bill now moves to the Senate floor for debate.
  • HB355: Rep. Barry Ivey (R) has postponed all of his tax bills until next week. His a tax bill proposal package, a comprehensive tax bill that linked bills HB355-364 via amendments into one bill, is among the biggest tax rewrite bills on the House floor. This package was sent through the House Ways and Means Committee without discussion and was sent to the House floor for debate, originally scheduled for this week. However, it has been rescheduled for debate on May 24.

Minimum Wage bill heads to Senate floor

  • The minimum wage bill, SB 153, passed the Senate Labor committee 4-2 on Wednesday, advancing the wage hike to the full Senate. If the bill passes, it would raise the minimum wage in Louisiana above that of the federal government’s minimum to $8 in 2018 and $8.50 in 2019. This raise excludes workers like student workers, tipped workers and certain agricultural workers.
  • The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee has moved SB 2, by Sen. J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) to its final reading and passage, scheduled for final passage in the Senate on Monday, May 22. This bill provides that the Louisiana Equal Pay Act be applicable to men and private employers and requires government contractors to verify equal pay practices.
  • Read BCC Government Relations Chairman Barry Regula’s breakdown of the bill here.

Education bills move through Senate

See the following bills that in the Louisiana Senate, followed by analysis from LABI, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
  • SB 170 – Sen. Barrow: This bill, which provides that, for the 2016-2017 school year, students, schools, and districts in declared disaster areas shall not be negatively impacted by the school and district accountability system, has moved to the House floor. LABI’s Director of Education and Workforce Development, Brigitte Nieland testified in opposition to the bill, and, after her testimony, the bill was amended to allow BESE to make the determination if there is to be a negative impact, as they see appropriate, based on data collected. The bill was reported favorably by a vote of 4-1. The amendment removed LABI’s opposition to this bill.
  • SB 209 – Sen. Walsworth: This bill, which provides for the Louisiana Early College Opportunity Act, was reported favorably as amended by a vote of 5-1, and recommitted to the Senate Finance Committee this week. LABI supports this bill.
  • SB82 – Sen. Appel: EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY – Provides relative to the La. Competency-Based Education Program and the La. Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) tests. (gov sig) CABL supports this bill: Adds language to our law saying: “state content standards shall represent the knowledge and skills needed for students to successfully transition to postsecondary education and the workplace.” This bill was recommitted to the Senate Committee on Finance this week.