Lawmakers join One Acadiana to discuss tax reform and sales tax centralization

Acadiana’s business community pushed for tax reform and centralized sales tax collection during the legislative session, and lawmakers joined members of the chamber of commerce on Friday to discuss the successes of the session.

An Acadiana hosted the Legislative Review Panel with the region’s legislative delegation to provide members with an overview of the work of lawmakers on amending the state’s tax code, disbursing US bailout money and centralizing the collection of sales taxes – which has been a priority for Louisiana. business owners for decades.

“This was quite possibly, I believe, one of the most productive sessions we’ve seen in a while,” said Troy Wayman, president and CEO of One Acadiana, which serves as the chamber of commerce for the parish. de Lafayette and the Acadiana region. .

Senate Speaker Page Cortez, who worked for a family-owned furniture store in Lafayette before being elected to the legislature, said his brother-in-law contacted his state senator in the early 2000s to lobby in favor of the centralization of the sales tax. Its senator, Mike Michot, advocated centralized sales tax collection in 2001.

In a January 2001 edition of the Daily Advertiser, an advertisement for Cortez’s store was within a few pages of a headline: “(Government Mike) Foster: Michot’s Tax Plan Won’t Work. More than two decades later, the plan will be put to a statewide vote.

“Great ideas start long before they actually happen,” Cortez said.

Several of One Acadiana’s priority bills have been passed by the legislature, including one that would reduce the personal and corporate tax rate in exchange for the elimination of the federal tax deduction, which will be a constitutional amendment during the ballot October.

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Lawmakers also explained how they disbursed the US bailout money, which was President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan. During the session, lawmakers allocated $ 563 million for road and bridge projects, $ 490 million for the unemployment trust fund and to repay federal loans, $ 90 million to expand broadband in rural areas, $ 60 million for the Louisiana Tourism Revival Program and $ 50 million for port relief efforts.

“We got around $ 3.1 billion and we decided to take $ 1.6 billion and spend it in year one,” Cortez said.

One of the region’s priorities, the Interstate 49 connection, is expected to receive part of the infrastructure funding from the American Rescue Plan. Cortez said the Acadiana delegation – which wields significant power in the legislature – will continue to push to make connection an infrastructure priority.

One Acadiana also praised the Legislature’s work on the MJ Foster Promise program, named after former Governor Mike Foster. The program would provide adults with up to $ 3,200 per year in credit to help them land jobs in high-demand industries.

“Governor Foster is considered by many to be the father of the community and technical college system,” Cortez said. “One of the things he wanted to promote was for the industry to be able to get certified and educated employees.”

Going forward, One Acadiana will be overseeing the next redistribution session in the hopes that Southwest Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District remains largely intact.

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