It’s the final day of the legislative session and state lawmakers are expected to pass a tax reform package that will result in lower individual income tax rates, but eliminate the ability to deduct federal income taxes paid. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the lower income tax rates could help attract businesses.

“Our highest rate under this proposal, which will be 4.25% that’s the very lowest in the region and one of the very lowest in the country,” said Erwin.

The House has approved the tax swap plan, the Senate is expected to do it today and then it will go before voters in the fall.

Erwin says the 2021 session will also be remembered for the change in attitudes regarding marijuana. Erwin says while legislation to legalize recreational marijuana did not pass, legislators approved a bill that takes jail time away as a punishment for those caught with a small quantity of pot.

“And that’s a pretty big step forward and one that many people in Louisiana thought was unlikely to happen anytime soon,” said Erwin.

In the budget, there’s money for teacher pay raises, TOPS is fully funded and there are also more dollars for Go Grants which will help students from moderate to low-income families attend college. Erwin says it’s the largest investment in higher education in more than a decade.

“It’s going to help the institutions themselves reinvest in their infrastructure and in their students, so I think that was a major step forward,” said Erwin.

Lawmakers must conclude their business by 6 PM tonight.

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