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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

LABI To Jeff Landry: Promote A Business Friendly Agenda!

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), one of the state's most influential lobbying groups, has announced its comprehensive agenda for the upcoming legislative session. LABI's proposal encompasses a wide range of measures aimed at enhancing the business environment and addressing various economic challenges facing the state.

Among the key initiatives outlined in LABI's report, known as LA23, are substantial tax cuts and changes to business-friendly laws that the organization has advocated for in the past. These proposals include the elimination of corporate franchise and business inventory taxes, centralization of sales tax collection, and modifications to the state's Industrial Tax Exemption Program to better support manufacturers.

LABI's agenda extends beyond tax reform and also focuses on addressing critical issues such as workforce development, early childhood education resources, and reducing crime. Although crime rates have seen a decline since the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders remain concerned about its impact on their profits.

According to the report, Louisiana faces the risk of industries relocating elsewhere due to the dissatisfaction of business leaders. A survey of 526 industry leaders conducted by LABI found that 87% believe that the state's "business climate" is deteriorating. Factors cited include an inadequate workforce and high insurance costs, among others.

Jim Patterson, who has served as interim president of LABI, emphasized the need for a change in direction to improve the state's business environment.

LABI's influence in the Louisiana Legislature is considerable, especially in the context of the Republican-dominated political landscape. Progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers often criticize LABI's policies, given the Republican supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature.

Jan Moller, the director of the nonprofit Louisiana Budget Project, acknowledged promising shifts in LABI's approach to early childhood programs and other issues but raised concerns about the funding for the proposed tax cuts. Moller commented, "I really do appreciate they understand the importance of investing in kids...but there's just an inherent contradiction between what they want and what they're willing to pay for."

LABI's proposed tax cuts coincide with projections of a substantial decrease in the state's tax revenue in the coming years. This decline is expected to occur as a temporary 0.45-cent sales tax expires and other tax collections are diverted to transportation projects, further impacting the state's general fund.

Despite these fiscal challenges, lawmakers have yet to propose comprehensive solutions to address the impending revenue shortfall.

The success of LABI's agenda may hinge on the reception it receives from the newly elected Republican governor-elect, Jeff Landry. Landry, who campaigned on a conservative platform, has assumed the role of governor. Although LABI has previously criticized Industrial Tax Exemption Program reforms, the organization now calls for a "streamlined" program to maximize economic benefits at both state and local levels.

Will Green, the incoming CEO of LABI, expressed the organization's readiness to collaborate with any governor who supports its agenda. Attorney General Landry's office declined to comment on LABI's proposals.

As the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry lays out its ambitious legislative agenda, the state's business community awaits the outcome of these proposals and their potential impact on the future of Louisiana's economy.


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