MARCH 2018
Fiscal Session Ends with No Resolution to Budget Deficit.
After a week of negotiations and failed votes, the House adjourned the fiscal session yesterday.

The Governor called the Legislature into session on February 19th with the goal of addressing an estimated $1 billion state budget shortfall when temporary taxes expire this summer. The Governor's Executive Order limited the session to several narrowly defined sales and income tax proposals, and to a specific list of budget reforms requested by legislators, including Medicaid, a transparency website, and a spending cap.

The major legislative items that were debated during the fiscal session would have affected Louisiana businesses in several ways: 
• Reduced the temporary 1% state sales tax to .25%;
• Permanently imposed a 2% state sales tax on utilities;
• Expanded the state sales tax to certain services;
• Permanently reduced certain income tax exemptions, including deductions for dividends, the Quality Jobs incentive, and the credit for taxes paid in other states.
Tax reform was not on the agenda. Republicans rejected new revenue from income taxes, and Democrats rejected new revenue from sales taxes. The resulting stalemate led to finger-pointing, and the blame game ruled the day.

Early news reports indicate the Legislature could adjourn the regular (non-fiscal) session a few weeks early in May and move into to a second special fiscal session to again attempt to raise tax revenue and close the budget gap that sets in July 1.
Despite Unanimous Support, the Concept Will Have To Wait Until the Regular Session.
HB 29 by Speaker Taylor Barras passed the House 104-0 last week but was awaiting action in the Senate when the Legislature adjourned Sine Die yesterday.The bill has been re-filed for debate in the regular session as HB 510 .
The Senate filed its own version of the state transparency website legislation, SB 8 by Sen. Rick Ward, which in turn passed the Senate unanimously. In its final form, the bill still appeared to delay the spending transparency website until the $30 million new state accounting system is operational in three years. A similar version of this bill, SB 363 , has also been filed for debate in the regular session.
Although the bills to bring transparency to government spending failed to make it through the process, the movement had considerable momentum. We look forward to this effort continuing in the regular session. Thank you to all of you who have added your voice in support so far, we will need your continued help in the coming months. 
Stay tuned to take action again in the regular session as it is already in the works !
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