NFIB/LA fought hard for small business owners this session, working with lawmakers on reform proposals and speaking out about the burdens posed by labor bills. Here’s a look at what happened with the most important issues for Louisiana businesses.
Income Tax Reform
NFIB/LA supported proposed constitutional amendments to move to a flat tax for individual and corporate income tax filers, but the efforts failed to pass the Senate. This would have moved Louisiana in a positive direction on tax reform and created a simpler system.
Sales Tax Reform
We opposed the expansion of the sales tax to include certain services. The legislation didn’t pass the House. Lawmakers agreed with us that there had been so many changes and increases to the sales tax in recent years that now was not the time to expand it even if on a limited basis. NFIB also watched legislation that is set to clean up the sales tax exemptions and exclusions. We reviewed the various exemptions and exclusions as a member of the Sales Tax Streamlining and Modernization Commission. Time ran out before the Legislature could vote on the plan, but we believe lawmakers will take up the issue again in 2018.
Gas Tax Increase
NFIB/LA opposed the increase in the gas tax that would have been wholly dedicated to road and bridge construction. We testified that our members told us they were tax-fatigued and that many small businesses who have fleets are disproportionately impacted by such an increase. The proposed gas tax did not have the 70 votes needed to move off the House floor, so the author did not ask his colleagues to vote.
We worked to kill the creation of a state minimum wage, which would have had a chilling effect on hiring for small businesses. While the proposal was “modest,” Louisiana currently follows the federal minimum wage, so the creation of a state minimum wage would become a campaign year promise of candidates and create far too much uncertainty in a business owner’s ability to plan their labor costs from year to year.
Equal Pay and Transparency
NFIB/LA worked to kill efforts to expand the definitions and opportunities to sue employers regarding equal pay and discussion of wages. We testified that remedies exist in current state and federal law to protect employees who are not receiving equal pay. Additionally, NFIB/LA testified that the National Labor Relations Board has already ruled that employers are not permitted to have pay secrecy policies whereby employees are retaliated against for discussing pay. We committed to working with legislators on an equal pay awareness campaign that educates employers about the laws in place.