Film credits and other state legislative actions - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Film credits and other state legislative actions

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Motion picture production companies wanting to qualify for Louisiana tax credits would first have to submit a certified audit of the planned expenditures to the state, under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate.

The cost report analyzed by an independent certified public accountant would have to be submitted before a tax credit is issued. Under current law, the investor tax credit is issued without an audit, officials said.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, said the requirement was an attempt to regulate, not harm, a multibillion dollar industry. He said it would allow companies to know what the state expects for compliance.

"We do need a good measurement for every tax credit the state offers," said Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi. "I think that's what Sen. Martiny is attempting to do."

The proposal (Senate Bill 165) was approved 37 to 1. It now moves to the House for further discussion.

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Lawmakers in the House have bumped up their scrutiny of tax break proposals that often have won easy and quick passage in previous years.

Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, won passage of his bill (House Bill 726) to revamp a tax credit program that doles out tax credits as percentages of investments made into certain types of businesses in the state. But passage came only after repeated concerns raised about the $49.5 million price tag estimated for the state over four years, starting in 2016.

"At what point do we stop giving away our revenues?" said Rep. Jay Morris, R-Monroe.

Rep. Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell, said while he understands tax breaks help attract and create jobs, he thought there was a limit in what the state could afford.

"We really need to go and have a good gut check before we go and say, 'Here's another $50 million,'" Pearson said.

Leger said the seven-year program would generate far more in economic development than it would cost the state, and he said Louisiana needs to have the tax credits to remain competitive with its neighboring states.

"It's a clear winner for the state of Louisiana," he said.

The House sent the proposal to the Senate for consideration with a 63-33 vote.

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In other legislative action:

-New employees of Louisiana's education and teacher unions would not be able to participate in the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana, under a proposal (House Bill 727) sent to the Senate with a 57-40 House vote. It would apply to employees hired after Sept. 1. Supporters said the union employees shouldn't be in a state retirement system if they're not state workers. Critics of the measure called it a union-busting tactic.

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-Delhi. "I think that's what Sen. Martiny is attempting to do."

The proposal (Senate Bill 165) was approved 37 to 1. It now moves to the House for further discussion.

___

Lawmakers in the House have bumped up their scrutiny of tax break proposals that often have won easy and quick passage in previous years.

Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, won passage of his bill (House Bill 726) to revamp a tax credit program that doles out tax credits as percentages of investments made into certain types of businesses in the state. But passage came only after repeated concerns raised about the $49.5 million price tag estimated for the state over four years, starting in 2016.

"At what point do we stop giving away our revenues?" said Rep. Jay Morris, R-Monroe.

Rep. Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell, said while he understands tax breaks help attract and create jobs, he thought there was a limit in what the state could afford.

"We really need to go and have a good gut check before we go and say, 'Here's another $50 million,'" Pearson said.

Leger said the seven-year program would generate far more in economic development than it would cost the state, and he said Louisiana needs to have the tax credits to remain competitive with its neighboring states.

"It's a clear winner for the state of Louisiana," he said.

The House sent the proposal to the Senate for consideration with a 63-33 vote.

___

In other legislative action:

-New employees of Louisiana's education and teacher unions would not be able to participate in the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana, under a proposal (House Bill 727) sent to the Senate with a 57-40 House vote. It would apply to employees hired after Sept. 1. Supporters said the union employees shouldn't be in a state retirement system if they're not state workers. Critics of the measure called it a union-busting tactic.

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

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