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NFIB/Louisiana 2013 Legislative Victories

Date: June 19, 2013

Tax/fee increases considered and killed:

  • NFIB/Louisiana helped stave off tax increases on small businesses.
  • NFIB opposed SB 74 by Sen Johns, which would have removed the income requirement for the special assessment freeze for the elderly. It would have only served to shift even more of the local property tax burden to the business community which currently pays 70% of all local property taxes.
  • NFIB opposed HB 576 by Rep Broadwater, which would have authorized the levy of a statewide ad valorem tax of up to 5 mills, subject to voter approval. A fund would be established as an additional revenue source for Higher Education. The tax increase would have been $180 million annually.
  • NFIB opposed HB 211 by Rep Connick, which would have authorized districts, subject to voter approval, to impose and collect an annual fee of $1 per $1000 of the value of private automobiles but no less than $20 per automobile. Essentially, the state fee that is paid now to register vehicles would have also been imposed by local governments. It would have increased the cost to the state budget and been a tax increase, especially to small businesses.
  • NFIB opposed HB 675 by Rep St Germain, which would have tied the gas tax to the Consumer Price Index but could not be lowered. The tax increase for the first year would be $5.8 million increasing annually thereafter. Over 5 years, it would have been a$148 million tax increase. The bill was killed in the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • NFIB opposed HB 548 by Rep Willmott, which would have mandated dual certification for electricians who do elevator work. Electricians are already licensed and regulated with a state contractor’s license. The bill sought to require an additional certification and fee under the State Fire Marshall’s office leaving all the authority to the State Fire Marshall to determine fee amounts.
  • NFIB opposed HB 421 by Rep Ponti, which would have mandated an additional $100 contractor’s licensing fee, except for residential construction. The funds would have been dedicated to construction management courses in higher education. The bill was amended to make it an option for the contractor.
  • NFIB opposed HB 445 by Rep Lambert, which would have forced retailers to take in beverage containers and give the customer a 5 cent deposit for those returned. The tax increase would have been $148 million annually plus mounds of regulations and compliance. Retailers.
  • NFIB opposed HB 711 by Rep Barrow, which would have enacted a 5cent plastic bag tax. The tax increase would have been $70 million annually.

 

Employee relations:

  • Equal pay was once again an issue that NFIB had to oppose. It came in the form of several different bills filed. We were able to get the House version killed in committee but the Senate version (SB 153) made its way to the Senate floor. NFIB believes that employers pay their employees based on different factors, like experience, work ethic, attitude, and education to name just a few. These bills are simply a new way for employees to sue their employers regardless of gender. The Senate could not get the required 20 votes to pass the bill, so the bill was amended to remove private employers and only include state workers.
  • NFIB opposed HB 464 by Rep Hunter, would have allowed inmates with work-related injuries to receive workers' comp. The bill died in committee.
  • NFIB supported SB 18 by Sen Ward made its way through the process and is awaiting the governor’s signature. Effective on August 1, 2013, at-home bakers making $20,000 or less annually are allowed to sell their cookies and cakes to the public.

 

Good bills that were killed

  • Public employee union dues prohibition: NFIB supported HB 522 by Rep Seabaugh would have prohibited the government (taxpayer) from collecting dues for unions. The unions would have been required to collect the dues themselves. Killed in committee.
  • Term limits elected officials statewide: NFIB supported HB 88 by Rep Champagne which would have put term limits on all statewide elected officials. Killed in committee.
  • Public pension reform: NFIB supported SB 259 by Sen Peacock which would have put all state workers on a 5-year final average compensation for the purposes of calculating retirement benefits. It only applied to new workers and would have made all workers calculations the same, as some still have a more generous 3-year final average compensation. Would have saved the state $4 million in public pension costs going forward.
  • Legal reform: Annually, the business community goes to the legislature with bills to tweak or reform the legal system. We have tried many different issues from venue to jury trial threshold. And annually, these bills are killed. We are constantly in comparison to the state of Texas but interestingly, Texas has passed strong legal reform laws. We will continue trying but our legislature is only as strong as the weakest link. Herein lies the problem!

 

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