After the blow back from the abbreviated debate on education reform in 2012, Representative Joel Robideaux said discussions on the Governor's initiatives got underway sooner this year. “Some may say that wasn’t a good way to go," Robideaux told the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, "because we’ve taken two months of opposition, but from a legislative standpoint, I think it’s great because we’ve had two months of debate we wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded.”
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 6:01 pm
Under the Governor's proposed tax reforms low-income filers will be eligible for a rebate and some business incentive programs will see changes. The state House Ways and Means Committee met again Tuesday to discuss details on these elements of the proposal.
The Governor wants to eliminate the personal income tax and the corporate income and franchise taxes. Under the proposal, the sales tax will grow to make up that revenue.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 7:02 pm
Officials from the Department of Health and Hospitals were grilled Tuesday morning by the Appropriations Committee on how they plan to save money in the next fiscal year.
Among other cost-saving measures, the department’s $8.9 billion proposed budget calls for turning over a number of existing Medicaid services to private entities, and investing more in the Bayou Health reforms. Savings also hinge on the privatization of the LSU charity hospitals, although no official agreements have been made yet.
After hearing from department heads and state higher-ups, State Rep. John Schroder wants to hear from state employees on how to get Louisiana’s fiscal house in order.
The House Appropriations Committee has been methodically sifting through Gov. Jindal’s 2013-2014 budget since March 12th and will continue doing so in the weeks to come. As the committee continues going down the department checklist, Schroder now wants the involvement and input from actual state employees.
An Iberia Parish lawmaker again is seeking to put term limits on all statewide elected officials, after voters overwhelmingly supported such limits for school boards.
Republican Rep. Simone Champagne has filed the proposal to limit statewide elected officials to three consecutive four-year terms. Lawmakers will consider the measure in the legislative session that begins in April.
Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:18 am
Governor Jindal’s administration has agreed to finish and release its proposal to overhaul the state’s tax system by the end of next week. In a reversal of the usual power-dynamic, Jindal is now yielding to pressure from legislators.
Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley, who was hand-picked by the governor sent Jindal an open letter yesterday evening pressing for the release of details of his tax overhaul. He asked that the plan be released to legislators by March 15 so that committees could properly debate it before session starts.
Lawmakers who spent months reviewing Louisiana's lengthy list of tax breaks are recommending more regular oversight and study of the credits, exemptions and rebates.
In its final report released Tuesday, the Revenue Study Commission didn't recommend getting rid of any specific tax breaks.
Instead, the 14-member panel provided two lists for possible legislative action: one of underused or expired tax breaks and the second of tax breaks where questions were raised by a commission member about a program's value.
Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:36 pm
Representative Kevin Pearson, chairman of the House Retirement Committee, has prepared a bill that he hopes will improve the cash balance plan – despite that the plan is the subject of ongoing litigation. The plan was overturned in court because it didn’t get a two-thirds vote in the legislature.
If the State Supreme Court does uphold the decision, the bill could be used as a safety-net, and the cash balance plan could be brought before the legislature a second time.
Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 10:51 am
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are voicing their skepticism of Governor Bobby Jindal’s tax overhauls. The forum this morning: an annual pre-session briefing hosted by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
Jim Patterson of LABI kicked off the presentation with what he’s heard from legislators about their private talks with Governor regarding his still unreleased tax overhauls. "[Gov. Jindal] does want to conform the local sales tax base to the state tax base," Patterson said. "This will help local governments to absorb what are going to be some relegation of services by the state to them.