May 12, 2015


House Reveals its Newfound Love for Tax Increases


Leadership in the House of Representatives saw fit last week to muscle through passage of possibly the largest tax increase in Louisiana history via a package of bills sponsored by a range of authors (total value of the package is around $677 million). Partisan politics were somewhat set aside as leadership urged passage of 11 major bills off the House floor. Yes there was some resistance, but the message from leadership was clear: the package of bills was going to pass regardless of opposition. When the chairmen of the House GOP delegation, the Democratic Caucus, and the Black Caucus all appear to be singing from the same songbook (written by the Speaker of the House and the chair of Ways and Means), there is obviously little room for external influence on the process. Interestingly enough, the total projected revenue generated from last week's House-passed bills is not enough to close the $1.6 billion deficit. That means either more revenue or additional cuts (or some combination thereof) must take place in order to balance the budget. 

View Synopsis of the big-ticket items that passed from the House floor last Thursday.


Two Bills of Concern on House Floor Next Week


HB 720 and HB 766 by Rep. Bryan Adams were both 

debated on the House floor this week before being returned to the calendar due to questions related to impacts to the public bid law regarding architects and engineers (among others who provide contract services to public bodies. HB 720 authorizes the Board of Supervisors of the Community and Technical College System to enter into contracts with private nonprofit corporations for certain services including the financing, construction, procurement, maintenance, and management of facilities. HB 766 makes several changes to the GRAD Act with regard to operational autonomies for public universities. One change this bill seeks to make is to increase the dollar limit under which institutions have the authority to select architects for professional service contracts. AIA-LA is working to improve language in each of these bills, which are back up for debate on the House floor Monday afternoon, May 11th.