East Baton Rouge Parish would be able to create an automobile rental tax district under legislation approved Wednesday afternoon in the House that could generate dollars for the arts and local government.
The House voted 92-4 for the legislation sponsored by state Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge. The bill now heads to the state Senate for debate.
The authority for a state and local tax expires June 30. Facing loss of the revenue, several legislators offered legislation aimed at keeping the taxing authority.
The state is authorized to levy a 2.5 percent tax and local governments one-half of 1 percent on gross proceeds from the lease or rental of automobiles.
Under House Bill 971, the parish would create the automobile rental tax district, which would be authorized with a vote of the people to levy a tax of up to 3 percent.
Those lease or rental agreements that exceed 29 days would not be subject to the tax.
According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, a 3 percent tax would raise $750,000 annually in the parish.
Barrow’s bill dedicates any money generated as follows: 60 percent to the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge for operations and grants, 23 percent to the Shaw Center for the Arts and 17 percent to the city-parish.
Legislators would be able to use space in state buildings for their district offices at no cost under legislation that cleared a state Senate panel Wednesday.
The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee shipped Senate Bill 106 to the Senate floor for debate.
Bill sponsor state Sen. Rick Gallot, D-Ruston, said he was looking for office space in Rapides Parish.
He said he discovered that there was vacant space in the state office building in Alexandria, but the state Division of Administration advised that “the space would cost quite a bit of money.”
“If there is unused space, we as legislators ought to be able to use that space as legislative offices without having to pay,” said Gallot. “The state already owns it.”
Legislation that would require the Pardon Board to reflect the racial, gender, economic and geographic features of the state’s population died Wednesday in a House committee.
The House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice voted 7-4 in favor of deferring House Bill 130.
HB130’s sponsor, state Rep. Patricia Smith, said she was offended that the Governor’s Office opposed the proposal.
“To have a governor or anyone else … say my appointments do not have to reflect the population of the citizenry of the state concerns me,” said Smith, D-Baton Rouge.
The committee’s chairman, state Rep. Joseph Lopinto, objected to the proposal.
Lopinto, R-Metairie, said the governor puts the best people he can find on the board.
wThe Capitol news bureau
A state Senate committee Wednesday advanced legislation designed to shield certain information obtained in the course of Senate confirmation of governor’s appointees.
Senate Bill 707 sponsor state Sen. Jody Amedee, R-Gonzales, said a lot of personal information is contained in the records that the Senate collects, such as tax records, driver’s license numbers, tax information and cell phone numbers.
“This stops that type of personal information from being a matter of public record,” said Amedee, chairman of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee that approved the measure.
Compiled by the
Capitol news bureau
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