Jeremy Alford

Lafayette Chamber backs Jindal plan

by Jeremy Alford

The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with 14 other business organizations from around the state to support the elimination and accelerated phase-outs of several business taxes. The Legislature will being debating the bills Sunday in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s second special session.

The coalition believes the elimination of these taxes would remove a major obstacle in economic development efforts and improve the competitiveness of all Louisiana businesses. “The removal of these unorthodox taxes would at least level Louisiana’s playing field when compared to the rest of the country,” says Mike Odom, the group’s spokesperson. “Businesses of all sizes would now be given the opportunity to make positive investments in their future.”

Specifically, the special session will address:

--  Eliminating the 1 percent state sales tax on business utilities that brings in about $68 million a year, starting July 1.

-- Accelerating the removal of the corporate franchise tax on debt, an elimination started under Blanco's administration. The tax was scheduled to be gone by July 1, 2011. Jindal is proposing eliminating it one year early, by July 1, 2010.

-- Speeding up the removal of the state sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, another elimination started by Blanco's administration. The tax was scheduled to expire by July 1, 2010, but Jindal wants it of the books one year earlier.

The coalition is also made up of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Feliciana Chamber of Commerce, Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Iberville Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Industrial Development Executive Association, Monroe Chamber of Commerce, Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, River Region Chamber of Commerce, Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, West Feliciana Community Development Foundation, and West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce.