Mizell announces LSU ag office safe

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, March 9, 2016

While tax hikes and budget cuts grabbed the big headlines across the state over the weekend, state lawmakers are also seeking to protect local expenditures at home, and the representatives from Washington Parish are no exception.

State Sen. Beth Mizell announced Monday that the parish’s LSU research station on Louisiana Highway 16 is safe — though its budget is not untouched.

“It will be used primarily for LSU Veterinary School and Animal Science study,” Mizell said. “They will keep about 160 cows and … there will be six employees. I know it’s a cutback, but it’s not gone and that is a blessing for our area. I appreciate the efforts of the LSU Ag people who worked hard to find a solution and have been helpful with my calls and concerns.”

Agricultural agent Henry Harrison said the staffing cuts would cut one position, and that would likely be his own administrative assistant at the agricultural center. He said the administrative assistant at the experimental station would take over the job, as that administrative assistant has seniority.

Beyond the staffing cut, Harrison said more cuts could be coming, and he didn’t think his agency would be safe until the special budgetary session is over next week.

“It’s still up in the air as far as cuts,” he said. “We’ll know by (March) 9th what’s happening.”

State Rep. Malinda White also released a list of bills that made it out of the House on Friday.

Those bills include:

• HB 7, a bill that would “increases the amount of the corporate income exclusion for dividend income to 100 percent.”

• SB 1, which would add “college tournament or championship to the definition of a qualified major event for purposes of the Major Events Incentive Program.”

• SB 4, which “provides for the deposit and use of funds received from the Deepwater Horizon Economic Damages Settlement.”

Those bills were headed to the governor’s desk for approval.

Other bills that passed the House include:

• HB 28, which “reduces the amount of the discount for accurately reporting and remitting excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and beer.”

• HB 14, a cigarette tax hike that will raise cigarette taxes from 86 cents to $1.08.

• HB 18, which “reduces the amount of the discount for accurately reporting and remitting excise taxes on certain tobacco products and the discount for stamping cigarettes by 1 percent.”

• HB 19, which “expands the definition of ‘domestic corporation’ for purposes of the corporate franchise tax.”

• HB 71, which “reduces the amount of certain Enterprise Zone tax credits, removes certain hotels from eligibility, allows an increase in the job credit from $2,500 to $3,500 per net new job for those employees on SNAP, WIC or Medicaid, unemployable by traditional standards or lacking basic skills, and caps the sales tax rebate/investment tax credit at $100,000 per net new job.”

• HB 111, which will let state agencies access revenues generated by debts and fines in a more timely matter.

• HB 95, which “eliminates the state income tax deduction for federal income taxes paid and applies only to corporate returns.”

• HB 99, which “changes the apportionment percent for apportionable income derived for certain transportation and service industry sectors to a single ratio calculation.”

• HB 87, which “limits the tax credits to no more than 95 percent of the qualifying credit for two premium tax years, 2016 and 2017, for all payers except life insurance companies with total admitted assets no greater than $15 million.”

Finally, the House moved to concur with Senate amendments to HB 30, which “expands the definition of dealer to include Internet sales for state and local sales tax purposes.”