Support measures to correct the imbalance in the tax burden borne by business and to encourage industrial and business investment in Louisiana. Such measures should include: (1) eliminating inconsistencies in the administration of the state and local tax systems by centralizing the collection of sales taxes; (2) shifting the financing and delivery of many governmental services from the state level to the local level; and (3) enacting business tax measures that encourage the retention or relocation of jobs and business to this state. LABI supports efforts to ensure that small businesses are treated fairly in the tax collection process and the distribution of the burden of taxes that fund state and local government. LABI opposes measures to increase the homestead exemption, which would further shift the property tax burden to business.
Businesses in Louisiana pay a disproportionately higher share of taxes as compared to other states. In order for Louisiana to be able to compete with other states, stronger efforts must be made to develop a fairer and more balanced tax system. More needs to be done to level the playing field and reduce the tax burden borne by business, especially small businesses. There must be a properly balanced property tax structure so that small businesses do not end up paying a higher share of property taxes.
LABI will support efforts to help employers offer or maintain employer-based health care coverage and oppose anything that would increase employers’ health care costs.
Most employers recognize that after salaries or personnel compensation, health insurance coverage is the most important benefit they can offer to their employees. However, due to the ever-rising cost of health care, providing this benefit has been difficult if not impossible for small employers. Unfortunately, many employers are being forced to drop coverage because they simply can’t afford it. Small businesses are finding it difficult to contain costs when commercial insurance costs are steadily rising, unnecessary government intrusions limit employer choices, and the imposition of new business taxes or fees are a constant threat. Therefore, more needs to be done to contain health care costs so as to make health insurance more affordable for small businesses and to give them more choices in the type of coverage needed for their companies.
LABI will support efforts to reduce the cost of commercial insurance for small businesses, especially in the areas of workers compensation and liability. The cost of doing business in Louisiana is constantly on the rise. Unfortunately, businesses are forced to expend resources defending suits that lack merit or fighting fraudulent claims rather than focusing on the bottom line. Rising commercial insurance costs are a major concern for all businesses. Notwithstanding the high cost of commercial insurance, many business owners struggle to find commercial coverage because many insurance companies are not willing to write policies in Louisiana. Therefore, the following must be done to help keep commercial insurance costs under control:
- Make every effort to preserve reforms enacted in the liability area.
- Oppose efforts to impose any tort remedy in workers compensation cases.
- Support appropriate efforts to protect businesses from non-meritorious lawsuits.
- Support the enforcement of the Louisiana unified building code to enable a viable, affordable and competitive private insurance market to exist.
Government Contracts: Support an appeals process for small businesses that are discriminated against in federal, state and local government contract bids.
Government Competition: Restrict efforts by government to provide goods and services in competition with private businesses.
Department of Economic Development: Support additional emphasis by the Department of Economic Development on providing assistance to Louisiana’s small businesses. Pursue involvement of small businesses in the decision-making process of the Department of Economic Development.
Public Bid Law: Oppose any efforts to circumvent or make exceptions to the public bid law and support legislation to strengthen its enforcement.
Expropriation: Support legislation that would provide appropriate treatment of private property owners regarding expropriation for “public purpose.”
Special Funds – Legislatively Dedicated Self-Imposed Fees: Oppose raiding of legislatively dedicated funds that were created and funded by industry fees paid to accomplish specific regulatory or other purposes.
Business Activity Tax: Oppose legislation that would impose additional or new taxes on business through a business activity, gross receipts, value-added, or any other similar taxing scheme, thus decreasing our ability to attract and retain jobs and investment in this state.
Energy Taxation: Oppose increased or new taxes or fees on energy sources.
Inventory Tax: Support retention of Louisiana’s inventory tax credit and explore ways to eliminate the tax completely without increasing the business tax burden.
Inheritance Tax and Gift Taxes: Protect and maintain the repeal of the inheritance tax and gift tax as enacted by 2007 Act No. 371 and 2008 Act No. 822 respectively.
Franchise Tax: In 2016, the Legislature voted to greatly expand the franchise tax to include all types of businesses, specifically LLCs. LABI opposed the expansion of this “pay-to-play” tax that unduly harms small businesses and places an added layer of taxation on capital investment. LABI seeks the permanent repeal of the uncompetitive franchise tax.
Business Tax Burden: Oppose the elimination, reduction or modification of any tax exemptions, deductions, exclusions or credits, including the inventory tax credit. Oppose the imposition or increase of any taxes or fees, including those on energy or energy resources, which would increase the imbalance in the tax/financial burden borne by business in Louisiana. Support efforts to limit or reverse judicial expansion of the business tax burden.
Cost of Service: Oppose legislation that would shift the cost of electricity service from one class of consumer to another. Oppose imposition of taxes or fees to subsidize energy assistance programs within the Public Service Commission.
Fees: Support legislation to limit or reduce the amount of fees assessed on small businesses.
Property Tax Millages: Support legislation to limit or restrict the rolling forward of property tax millages following a mandatory millage roll-back.
Non-meritorious Suits: Support appropriate legislation to discourage the filing of non-meritorious lawsuits and to curb abusive solicitation and litigation tactics.
Abrogation of Contracts: Oppose legislation permitting abrogation of existing contracts.
Wage Discrimination: LABI supports the current state and federal laws on the books that address wage discrimination. LABI opposes legislation that expands lawsuits, including but not limited to, comparable worth and removing legal defenses.
Minimum Wage: Oppose legislation establishing a state minimum wage.
Workers’ Compensation: Support legislation to reduce workers compensation (WC) costs by overturning liberal court decisions, addressing factors responsible for escalating medical costs, and opposing the imposition of any tort remedy in WC cases. Continue to participate in the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation, particularly in its capacity as WC insurer of last resort in Louisiana.
Regulatory/Licensing Burden: Support the reduction of the regulatory burden on all businesses, especially small businesses, by reducing wasteful regulatory and/or licensing burdens on workers and small businesses. Support efforts to ensure regulations and licensing are necessary and justified by sufficient public interest and not protectionism.
Government Prompt Payment: Support prompt payment legislation that would require state and local governments to pay their bills within 30 days and to be subject to interest, fines and penalties.
Preference Laws: Oppose bid preference laws. Support current reciprocal laws for states that deny or restrict opportunities for competition by Louisiana businesses.
Government Efficiency: Support efforts to operate state government in a more efficient, cost-effective and fiscally responsible manner, including privatizing state government services where feasible, and encourage the utilization of technology.
Small Business Financing: Support legislation providing incentives for commercial financial institutions to extend credit to small businesses. Oppose any legislation that would duplicate regulatory practices and unnecessarily impose additional state authority to oversee financial transactions.
Prison Enterprises: Oppose expansion of prison enterprises or inmate labor and services not used solely in correctional facilities, and support legislation requiring a public certification process, including economic impact studies, prior to the establishment of such programs.
Consumer Advocacy: Oppose legislation that would establish new programs within new or existing agencies or departments that require public funding for representation or intervention in regulatory proceedings.
Mandated Benefits/Mandated Coverage: Oppose new or expanded governmentally mandated benefits in group health plans, except those benefits that are effective in controlling health care costs. Oppose new or expanded governmentally mandated payments by health plans for the benefit of a limited population or specific providers, except when there is a documented, actuarially positive benefit for such mandates. Oppose governmentally mandated employer-provided or employer-paid health insurance.
Mandate Offset Credit: Support legislation to provide employers with a tax credit for every mandated health care benefit they are required to provide.
Tort Reform: Oppose liberalization of Louisiana’s tort laws with specific emphasis on preserving reforms enacted in the following areas: strict liability, joint and several liability, punitive damages, product liability, class actions and government liability.
Double Recovery: Support legislation to eliminate double recovery of damages.
Industry Training/Workforce Development: Promote cooperative efforts between business owners, education institutions and the Louisiana Workforce Commission to ensure that workforce training programs are easily available to small businesses in Louisiana, are updated regularly and are customized to meet the needs of small business owners.
Worker Training: Study and develop legislation that would allow businesses – in particular, small businesses – better access and greater flexibility in the use of monies for worker training.
Education: Continue to support efforts to improve the quality of education at all levels in Louisiana by making the best possible use of tax dollars spent on education, to try new or more effective methods of education, and to demand better accountability, which will improve the quality of the workforce and economic prosperity in the state.
Freedom to Work: Over time, a number of state entities have created artificial barriers to work in the form of occupational licensing. Unless a license is necessary for public health and safety, individuals should be “free to work.” LABI supports efforts to review occupational licensing and remove costly and time-consuming barriers when possible.
Labor Relations: Support legislation to prohibit state or local government interference with employers’ rights and protections as provided under existing federal laws governing labor/management relations. Oppose any state legislation designed to weaken employers’ protections under existing federal laws governing labor/management relations.
Right-to-Work/Agency Shop: Do everything necessary to maintain Louisiana as a Right-to-Work state, including opposing repeal through any “agency shop” legislation.
Project Labor Agreements: Protect the ban on project labor agreements on publicly funded projects.
Bo Staples serves as Director of the Small Business Council. In this capacity, his responsibilities include issues that impact Louisiana’s small businesses.
Director, Small Business Council, LABI
Chair, Small Business Council
Swamp Dragon, LLC