The chairman of the Senate’s powerful tax-writing committee has introduced an ambitious package of bills that aims to overhaul how Louisiana corporations are taxed on their inventory, property and income. Senate Bill 4 would eliminate the inventory tax credit – a state rebate for inventory taxes paid at the local level – in exchange for cutting corporate income tax rates and eliminating the income tax on all corporate profits above $150,000. Senate Bill 2 seeks to codify some of the changes to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, in the state constitution. The Louisiana Illuminator’s Wesley Muller reports that legislative staff are still calculating how it would affect state and local revenue collections. 

The Louisiana Budget Project’s Jan Moller questioned the proposal’s impact on other taxpayers. “If profitable corporations are going to pay less, who’s going to pay more?” Moller said. Louisiana’s corporate income tax brought in roughly $567 million in net revenue during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, but it is unclear how much of that might be lost if the top bracket is eliminated.

Allain is also proposing to eliminate the corporate franchise tax, which brought in $350 million in the last fiscal year that supports education, health care and other services. 

State students falling off education map
Louisiana has the highest percentage of students who are missing from school, according to a new report. The analysis from the Associated Press and Stanford University analyzed available data from 21 states and found that the Pelican State had 19,000-plus missing kids representing 2.4% of the state’s school-age population of nearly 800,000 children. The Advocate’s Charles Lussier reports on the puzzling number of children who are not in classrooms. 

Roxson Welch, executive director of the Family and Youth Services Center, a Baton Rouge-based interagency center created a decade ago to combat truancy, has been sounding the alarm for years about children in town missing school. … Welch, however, worries that the rest of the education world does not share her urgency, noting that fewer kids are being referred to her agency for help this year than last year. A former classroom teacher, Welch said instructional practices need to adapt to educate these lost children now or they will act out in the future. “(The pandemic) changed our entire world, but it didn’t change our education system,” she said.

The state’s top education board is contemplating a range of potential remedies to reverse the number of students who are habitually absent or tardy, including denying or suspending drivers’ licenses for truant students. 

Not a bridge too far 
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined Gov. John Bel Edwards and state and local officials in Lake Charles on Thursday to celebrate a $150 million federal “mega grant” that will help finance a new Calcasieu River Bridge. The Lake Charles American-Press’ Crystal Stevenson reports that it’s the largest transportation grant Louisiana has ever received, which comes from the bipartisan infrastructure deal that Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy helped craft. 

Buttigieg said anyone paying attention to American infrastructure knows how important the bridge is not only to jobs, waterfront attractions and the quality of life in Southwest Louisiana but also to a supply chain that impacts the entire country

USA Today Network’s Greg Hilburn explains that the federal grant brings the total funding for the bridge to half of the expected cost. Tolls are expected to raise the remaining amount. 

The $150 million federal grant brings the total in-hand funding to $800 million, about half of what is estimated a new bridge will cost. Though pleas for a new bridge have rung out over the decades since the 1980s, there will be resistance to what will ultimately be tolls needed to meet the final cost of the bill. 

Conservatives embrace new type of welfare in post-Roe world
The repeal of Roe v. Wade means lawmakers must provide stronger support for women and families that struggle to make ends meet, something they haven’t always done in the years leading up to the Roe reversal. But as the New York Times’ Dana Goldstein reports, there’s a growing number of Republicans that are pushing their party toward direct cash assistance and other policies to support families. 

In arguing this, Ms. Bachiochi, Mr. Cass and others in this network are making a big ask: for Republicans to reject what they call the outdated, rigid agenda of the Reagan era, which not only cut working parents from welfare programs, but also vilified mothers receiving public benefits, often in starkly racist terms. If Republicans are to grow support among working-class, multiethnic voters, they say, the party must match pro-family rhetoric with pro-family investments.

Number of the Day
49.57% – Percentage of income tax liability incurred by the richest 156 corporations in Louisiana (0.11% of all returns), with annual profits above $10 million. Legislation filed for the upcoming session would eliminate taxes on corporate profits above $150,000 (Source: Department of Revenue annual report)