Bills by Sen White, Rep Foil would shift control over industrial exemptions from local communities to un-elected, statewide board
"White-Foil Plan" would dilute voice of local entities over exemptions affecting their revenue to 1 out of 27 votesBaton Rouge - Representative Franklin Foil and Senator Bodi White, both from Baton Rouge, have introduced bills that would curtail dramatically the say local school districts and other parish-level entities have over corporate tax exemptions affecting their own tax revenue.
Under current law, due to reforms put in place by Governor John Bel Edwards in 2016, local school districts, parish governing authorities and sheriffs have the authority to vote "yea" or "nay" on any industrial tax exemption that would affect its revenue.
House Bill 529 and Senate Bill 214, filed by Representative Foil and Senator White on April 1st, 2019, would dramatically dilute local authority over these exemptions.
The current process of a public vote by local elected bodies, under the White-Foil Plan would be replaced by a byzantine process under which membership of the Board of Commerce & Industry would be expanded temporarily on an ad hoc basis from 24 to 27 members for a specific exemption vote, with the three additional members representing the local entities impacted by the proposed exemption.
Instead of an elected local body deciding by public vote whether or not to approve an exemption, that local entity would be reduced to having one representative out of twenty-seven people voting on the exemption, the vast majority of whom would not be from the parish impacted by the exemption in question.
"This may sound like April Fools joke, but it's not," said Edgar Cage with Together Louisiana. "It's just a couple of really bad bills backed by interests that do not respect basic principles of local democracy and local control."
HB 529 is available here.
SB 214 is available here.Last year, Together Louisiana released a video called "Why Louisiana stays poor" on what's at stake with these exemptions.
For more information, contact Together Louisiana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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