Special Session wrap up 
As many of you are aware, the Office of Tourism's budget and Visitor Enterprise Funds are our primary focus as we advocate at the capitol, per direction from the LTPA and LACVB boards. Because of this, we were watching HB 122 very closely as it made its way through the Special Session. 

HB 122 and several other budget-balancing bills were passed during the final 10 minutes of the session last Wednesday. Only just this morning was capitol staff able to distribute final details on many of these bills. 

Louisiana Office of Tourism 
We are happy to report that the final reduction to the Office of Tourism in HB 122 is under $600,000 - an amount that both LOT and the Lt. Governor's Office consider favorable. 

When the request was made for action, our membership truly showed their support for LOT, sending 958 messages to the 11 members of the Senate Finance Committee. Both Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and Assistant Secretary Kyle Edmiston have shared their appreciation for your efforts with our staff. 

Visitor Enterprise Funds 
Unfortunately, last minute amendments added back language that will cut a number of Visitor Enterprise Funds by a total of $653,731. This amount is equal to 50 percent of the reduction approved by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget on Feb. 15. For example, if your VEF was reduced by $10,000 on Feb. 15, this bill has now authorized the Division of Administration to reduce it by an additional $5,000.  

This language can be found at the bottom of page 7 and top of page 8 in HB 122

Short-term rentals 
HB 59, which will require AirBnB and other short-term rental properties to pay state sales tax, passed during the Special Session. 
Although one amendment removed the data remittance requirement, the issue still has life at the capitol. Rep. Helena Moreno has filed a regular session bill, HB 722, to handle proper regulatory language for the collection of this tax and registration of properties. 

New state sales tax 
To help balance the budget, legislators also passed a bill that will add one additional penny to state sales tax. This brings the state sales tax rate to 5 cents, meaning taxes on most goods and services in Louisiana will be about 10 cents when coupled with local sales taxes. 

This new tax is effective on April 1 for 27 months. Click here to read more information about new taxes. 

Mark your calendar
Join us at 1 p.m. on March 23 for a bill review at the Capitol Park Welcome Center. We will discuss all tourism-related Regular Session bills and recap the Special Session. 

LACVB & LTPA | 1165 South Foster Dr | Baton Rouge | LA | 70806