Baton Rouge, La. (June 8, 2017) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released the following statement by President and CEO Adam Knapp in response to the conclusion of the 2017 legislative session:

“Having come closer to accomplishing something than we have in years, and knowing that it will be several years before we realistically get another chance again, this legislative session was a massive missed opportunity when it comes to transportation solutions for the Capital Region and the state. For the first time, a statewide coalition of 35 chambers of commerce and business associations supported an increase in the gas tax as a critical path for Louisiana’s economy. In light of this statewide unity of support, the legislature’s lack of action to address this serious issue was exasperating. By not securing additional funding to begin addressing the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure, it is unlikely to expect any assistance from the state until 2021, at the earliest. Until then, economic development in and around the Baton Rouge Area will be severely impacted as traffic congestion will only worsen while the conditions of our roads and bridges continue to deteriorate. The situation of our traffic crisis is squarely now on the state legislature because of its inaction. The public must continue to demand that legislative leaders find some way to fund transportation solutions that are sorely needed to improve economic conditions for the state.”

“While we are disappointed in the defeat of that signature legislative goal, the session was not a complete failure, and I do want to note a few wins that are important for economic development, especially for innovation-driven communities like the Capital Region. With LED and key stakeholders, BRAC helped pass legislation that reinstated the effectiveness of the Research and Development Tax Credit, especially for small businesses, and extended sunsets for other economic development programs like the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, the Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive, the Quality Jobs program, and the Enterprise Zone Program. BRAC also successfully fought against anti-business tax proposals like the Corporation Activities Tax (CAT Tax) and the Louisiana Corporation Flat Tax. BRAC also supported successful legislation to create greater transparency and accountability for transportation spending. BRAC was also successful in helping to protect K-12 education reforms, and assisted in the passage of legislation that creates the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (LaSTEM) Advisory Council.”

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.geninf.com.

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