Legislature Picky on Spending

Apr 18, 2013

State lawmakers are being more sensitive to how they spend money.

A bill containing minor change to the state’s Enterprise Zone program failed to pass in the House Thursday.

The Enterprise Zone is an incentive program that works to encourage businesses to expand in rural parts of the state. The bill would have changed the definition of a “multifamily residential housing”, making bigger apartment complexes eligible for a tax credit. 

The change would have cost the state $4.2 million total between fiscal years 2016 and 2017. That’s only .017 percent of the state’s overall budget. But that money could go along way. The state’s domestic violence shelters, for example, could face a cut of roughly have that much this year, which could force the closure of shelters in seven parishes.

"Revenue is not coming up," said Rep. Jim Fannin, Chariman of the House Appropriations Committee, as he rejected the Enterprise Zone change on budget grounds.

“We keep giving all of these tax credits out here to generate new jobs and I hope they are and I think they are. The bottom line is, we’re still giving away $6 billion [in tax breaks] and our revenue keeps going down in the state," Fannin said.

While the nay votes piled up on the board, Rep. Walt Leger moved for reconsideration. House Speaker Chuck Kleckley accepted. The bill will be put on the calendar for later in the session.