New Law Louisiana ‘Takes the Cake’ for Some Local Bakers

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – A new law passed in Louisiana bolsters opportunity for people who bake at home, while established pastry chefs cry foul.

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed HB1270 (formerly HB 775) which expands types of baked goods allowed, exempts state sanitary codes and offers tax breaks for higher sales.

Stay at home mom Jasmine Johnson says the new law help’s her small business while her application to Delgado’s Pastry Arts program is processing, “Once I go to school, I am so ready to bake tons of cakes for everybody out there. That`s all I’ve wanted to do. I love to bake cakes.”

If Johnson wants, she can now expand her home cake business to include other types of “low risk” foods including pickles, sauces and spices, keeping costs low, “I won’t have to go rent out different spaces and stuff. I can just stay at home. I actually take orders from cakes that are due in two days.”

“There is a flip side to this coin,” says Cynthia Portera at the French Market, selling her baked goods from Portera’s Panetteria. “This bill was pushed through fast and I did tell my representatives I objected.”

The co-owner at the Destrehan bakery, specializing in authentic Sicilian cookies, says the new law is unfair to certain established businesses, like hers, “We have to buy all the licenses. We have to pay for everything. And no matter what we make, we still have to pay taxes on it.”

The new law raises gross annual sales of home baked goods receiving tax breaks from $20,000 to $50,000, “The smaller farmers markets are taking these people in to promote their business.”

Portera says consumers should be concerned the health board is not allowed into home kitchens, “They do not know if you have cats running around on their cabinets or tables. We are subject to being inspected. And we are inspected.”

For Johnson, the bottom line could improve her sales, “It will so help me in the future to make it easier to bake cakes. I can bake more and more cakes and make more money. If anybody needs a cake, I charge a really low price.”

For Portera`s Panateria, the bottom line could suffer, “My government is not even standing behind us on this fight we have. I don’t see it lasting forever.”