Capitol Access

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Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy.

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One Down, Two To Go

Jun 20, 2016

“We only have 3 opportunities before us to possibly fund the vital services that we need in all of our communities,” Bogalusa Rep. Malinda White reminded her colleagues. 

Her HB 38 was one of those opportunities, and the full House took it up Sunday evening. The bill would reduce the amount of federal excess itemized deductions allowed on state returns.

Sue Lincoln

A clearly weary Governor John Bel Edwards met with the press today to discuss the status of the state’s finances and the special session seeking to address them.

Edwards said he keeps meeting with lawmakers, but some of them keep singing the same song.

“Legislators are somehow hoping that money is just going to show up,” the Governor said. “I learned a long time ago that hoping is not really a course of action.”

Sue Lincoln

In the space of two hours, the full Senate did some heavy lifting Thursday. It took just two minutes to okay the much-delayed capital outlay bill.

“Hopefully this will be the final HB 2 of 2016,” Senate Revenue and Fisc chair J.P. Morrell said, with a sigh.

Sales tax on Girl Scout cookies, on sodas sold by band boosters at high school football games, even sales tax on tickets to public radio events: all are what are being termed “unforeseen consequences of the suspension of sales tax exemption.”

That’s the so-called “cleaning” of the sales tax pennies passed during the first special session, earlier this year.

“The idea is to put all these various groups back the way they were before that session,” Senator J.P. Morrell explains.

House Ways and Means narrowly advanced one more revenue-raising bill Wednesday, reducing individual state itemized deductions to 57.5 percent of that allowed on federal returns -- maybe.

“If we end up with excess revenue, through any other source, this provision will be null and void everybody will get 100%. We will use the other money instead,” Ways and Means chair Neil Abramson explained.