The HCR 11 Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget and Tax Policy (Louisiana) released its final recommendations on November 2, 2016. Click on the links to read the news release by the Louisiana Department of Revenue, Summary of Recommendations, and Overview of the Recommendations.
As a member of this 13-member Task Force appointed by the Speaker of the House as one of two seats from the business community, I can tell you that there were countless hours, meetings, deliberations, and research performed to reach this point. Our first Task Force meeting was held on March 18, 2016, and our work was originally set to be complete by September 1, 2016. Because of the floods in the Greater Baton Rouge area and surrounding parishes, we received an extension to September 30, 2016. The Legislature then gave the Task Force a second extension until November 1, 2016 to focus more on budget reforms.
As for my role on the Task Force, I fought hard to not only help create a more simple and fair tax structure for Louisiana but to ensure that Louisiana remains business-friendly and competitive with proposals being advanced to overhaul the tax structure. Of course, I won some of those battles and lost others. However, a couple of the changes I am most proud of advancing are the recommendations to phase out the corporate franchise tax and inventory tax. In addition, I aggressively advocated for the proposal to create a unified and centralized sales tax system in Louisiana. Louisiana currently ranks 50th out of 50 states for its sales tax structure according to the Tax Foundation. Although, I was not in agreement with each item in the report, it is my belief that there are some positive changes being proposed that will help make Louisiana’s tax structure more business friendly, competitive, and less complex going forward.
You will be receiving a “Save the Date” shortly for a webinar that I will be leading that will give you an inside look at how the Task Force reached its findings, in addition to an in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of the recommendations found within the report. This webinar will take place after the November 8, 2016 elections, and we will know the status of Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3, which purports to repeal the Federal Income Tax Deduction for Corporations (Act 31 of the 2016 First Extraordinary Session). If this amendment passes by vote of the people, the corporate income tax rate would also be changed to a flat rate of 6.5%.
I will be leading a team at Ryan that will be extremely active representing businesses with legislative advocacy and bill monitoring as each of these proposals is developed as we head into next year’s fiscal session, which convenes on April 10, 2017. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of these proposals in detail, do not hesitate to contact me.