LATEST NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL:
Gov. Blanco's testimony before the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee
"Thank you for the opportunity to join you this afternoon to address three bills of importance to our people HB 35, HB 59 and HB 120 on your agenda.
"We now have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver tax cuts to our families, reduce insurance costs, and renew a tax exemption needed to lure the largest economic development project in the state's history.
"By acting now, we can guarantee that insurance relief is delivered to our people right away. HB 120 will provide a refundable tax credit to every Louisiana homeowner who has paid the La Citizens Insurance assessment.
"I want to thank Sen. Marrioneaux for suggesting that we provide a tax credit for the Citizens assessment.
"There has been significant pressure by the people of this state, legislators, and public policy groups to address the extra 15 percent assessments charged to all insurance policyholders by Citizens Insurance Company. Sen. Adley recognized the need to address the Citizens assessment and led the way to have a portion of the Emergency Response Fund dedicated to pay down this debt.
"Our plan will give Louisiana ratepayers immediate relief. We will use $236 million dollars to refund the 15% assessment and offset pending rate increases.
"Today we can do more to help our hard working Louisiana families.
"Young families with children are struggling. I know they will benefit from a child income tax credit.
"We have the money to give these funds back to our working families, back to our people and I come today to ask for your help in returning the people's money.
"HB 59 will provide these child tax credits. We have amendments to increase the amount of the credit to $100 per child and I ask your support.
"Your approval today will brighten the chances of taxpayers receiving these tax cuts this tax year.
"Our families have weathered the toughest year in our state's history. They deserve every nickel of these tax breaks and they deserve them now!
"As a result of our aggressive efforts to build a stronger economy and remain fiscally responsible, Louisiana is experiencing a significant and bright economic outlook.
"But we can brighten our economy even more through our aggressive economic development efforts.
"This morning I had the chance to continue our hard sell to lure in the biggest economic development project this state has ever seen.
"We need approval of HB 35 to have that tax exemption in our pocket should we need it as part of our package to lure the company.
"As you know we have beaten out more than 30 states and are now in the finals for consideration.
"To those who ask where we are after today's meeting let me say the company will decide, but our goal is clear. We want the project and we want to be their first choice.
"We want the 3,000 new jobs and the 40,000 construction jobs and the strong multipliers that will lift our entire economy.
"I was pleased to report to the company that we have enormous House support for the project. I ask for your support as well.
"Thank you for allowing me to come today to address you and to personally ask for your assistance."
SPECIAL SESSION NEWSROOM
The Louisiana House reconvened at 9:00 a.m. Friday, December 15. The Louisiana Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 10:00 a.m. Friday, December 15.