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Final Day: Same Objections


“At this point, we do not have the luxury of amending this bill,” Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs chairman J.P. Morrell told the Senate, so on this final day of the special session, House Bill 50 was considered without an expected amendment that could have raised another $88-million.

“House Bill 50 simply changes the way the capital gains tax is able to be refunded,” Jennings Senator Blade Morris explained.

Yet the debate brought up nearly all the objections we’ve heard throughout this session.

“I know we’re desperate for money, but please, please, think about the terrible message we’re sending to business,” Metairie Sen. Conrad Appel urged his colleagues.

Morrish argued that it sends exactly the right message.

“This bill is an incentive for you to stay here for 30 years, and employ people, and get your capital gains deduction,” he explained.

“It’s a bad idea. It’s bad policy,” Sen. Bret Allain of Franklin argued. “I urge you to vote against the bill.”

New Orleans Sen. Karen Carter Peterson couldn’t resist a sarcasm-laden response. “I guess it’s a bad idea to get $13-million to fund TOPS, to fund health care and hospitals. It’s a bad idea to fund LSU Medical School in New Orleans and Shreveport. It’s just a bad idea that we’re even here.”

“The reason I’m against this bill and many other bills is because it’s not going to do what the Fiscal Office says it’s going to do,” Sen. Jack Donahue of Mandeville stated. “Why is it over the last year or two that we’ve increased taxes and increased taxes, and revenue continues to decline?”

Peterson defended the fiscal staff for doing the best they could with the data available.

“They have not always been perfect. I will tell you, moving forward they will not be perfect,” she said. “But this bill is an opportunity for us to get some money – it’s not as much as we need, certainly – but it will contribute to the needs that we have in this state.”

The Senate approved it on a 22-17 vote, and the House concurred, sending the measure to the Governor’s desk.