BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The 2021 Louisiana Legislative Session has come to a close with big changes coming from the capitol. A major effort by Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder focused on tax reform which the people will get to vote on during a special election in October.
“Forty years. That’s how long it’s been since we’ve been working on getting a true tax reform package passed across the state that is going to help the people and the small businesses of the state,” Rep. Schexnayder said.
The leaders of the House and Senate spoke after they adjourned about their achievements in tax reform, no new taxes, and a focus on infrastructure.
“We will find out years from now but I think they may be generational in nature,” Sen. Page Cortez said. “We certainly need the support of the voters at the ballot box to vote on those constitutional amendments.”
One bill that passed in the eleventh hour would take 75% of the state vehicle tax starting in 2025 and put it into a construction sub fund. It would go towards the $14 billion roads and bridges projects that are backlogged. An estimated $300 million a year would be shifted from the general fund to the construction budget, which Governor John Bel Edwards said he isn’t ready to say he supports or not.
“When the legislature realized they couldn’t get the support among the members to pay for infrastructure investments they decided to do it without paying for it and it would come out of the general fund,” Gov. Edwards said.
The final bill passed is the outline of where $1.6 billion in federal COVID relief aid will be dispersed. It includes replenishing the unemployment fund, infrastructure, ports, logging and movie theaters and more programs to help rebuild the economy.
“I want to thank the legislature for not giving in to the temptation we’ve seen in the past to use one time money on recurring expenses,” Gov. Edwards said.
The Governor was able to see 10 of 13 executive legislative agenda items passed and he is proud of the work done in the legislature and is confident Louisiana is on to brighter days.