Lawmakers advance tax breaks for small businesses

Lawmakers advance tax breaks for small businesses

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Senate’s tax committee on Friday advanced a handful of bills designed to reduce the tax burden on small businesses while they recover from the coronavirus recession.

One plan would fatten a tax credit for businesses that invest in other small businesses, especially minority-owned shops.

Investors could not collect their tax credit for three years, buying the state’s economy some time before the bill’s $15 million price-tag kicks in.

Louisiana employed a similar program after Hurricane Katrina.

“We know that we need to do as much as we can to get our economy back up and running,” Senator Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, said. “This is a tool we already have, but this would be an effort to enhance that.”

The Senate’s budget committee must also approve that plan before it heads to the Senate floor for full debate.

Another plan would temporarily suspend a portion of the corporate franchise tax for businesses with less than $1 million in capital. It would put a nearly $7 million dent in the state’s budget for the coming year.

“There’s nothing we do that’s free,” state economist Greg Albrecht told lawmakers. “We have to balance our budget. That (money) is going to come out of some spending flow of the state at some point.”

Republican leadership in the legislature is pushing several different tax cuts for businesses.

Governor John Bel Edwards has said he opposes the ideas because forgoing revenue will require lawmakers to make sharper cuts to colleges and hospitals.

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