Committee approves delinquent accounts collection bill - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Committee approves delinquent accounts collection bill

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An effort to centralize and toughen Louisiana's efforts to collect hundreds of millions of dollars owed to state agencies in delinquent accounts began advancing Tuesday in the Louisiana Legislature.

The bill (House Bill 629) by Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, would create a new debt recovery office in the Department of Revenue and give it the authority to revoke and suspend state-issued licenses for back debts.

Broadwater said the state writes off as much as $125 million or more in debts each year as uncollectable because they have been delinquent for three years or more, and he said a centralized and focused collection effort could capture some of those dollars.

The state has 174 agencies - and no unified collection system to handle all state government debts. The attorney general's office collects back-owed debt for a few agencies that have contracts with them directly. But such contracts aren't required.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the proposal without objection as negotiations continue over how to structure the office and coordinate with the attorney general. It heads next to the House floor for debate.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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