Sunday, March 23, 2008

Business Happy, For Now

Posted By on Sun, Mar 23, 2008 at 9:41 PM

By: Jeremy Alford


How long does it take a new governor and legislature to spend a whopping $1.1 billion surplus? If the recent special session is any indication, less than seven days are needed. That land-speed record surprised even seasoned lawmakers. “We made some amazing accomplishments in such a short period of time,” said Senate President Joel Chaisson, a Destrehan Democrat. While it was originally floated as a session for business interests — removing state sales taxes from machinery, equipment, debt and utilities — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s assembly expanded greatly to benefit many parents, coastal communities, road projects, ports, universities and others. There were even pet projects, such as $50 million for the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and $57 million for Shreveport’s Cyber Innovation Center. Despite the spending spree, business interests already are looking toward new victories. Dan Juneau, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, notes that his membership favors expanding the tax break on machinery and equipment. Other states exempt additional items in the manufacturing process from state sales taxes and even force local governments to drop their levies, he says. 

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