Louisiana News Briefs

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

Revenue department says it’s on track to report tax break ROI; auditor claims missed deadline

The Louisiana Department of Revenue is on track to give legislators a comprehensive report about the return on investment for all tax incentives that cost state government at least $1 million before this year’s session, according to a letter made public this week.

The Louisiana legislative auditor claims the legally required report was due last April. Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson disputes the LLA’s interpretation of the law in her written response to the report.

While staff turnover and efforts to identify and acquire software to aid an economist in performing the analysis have slowed the process, “LDR remains committed and on track to provide the Legislature with the statutorily required information prior to the start of the 2021 Legislative Session,” Robinson said.

PAR raps AG Landry on public records lawsuit

Attorney General Jeff Landry’s lawsuit against a Baton Rouge reporter who was seeking public records related to harassment complaints against a Department of Justice official is contrary to the spirit of Louisiana’s public records doctrine, the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana argued in a new commentary.

“The obvious danger is that this lawsuit will give authoritative encouragement to local and state agencies throughout Louisiana to pursue the same means to avoid disclosure,” PAR said. “Government agencies can tip the scale and devote substantial taxpayer resources to legal battles, overwhelming private citizens seeking what rightfully is the public’s to see.”

Landry said the lawsuit is meant to let a court decide whether his office properly balanced transparency and employees’ right to privacy.

“The legal action we took is simply asking the Court to check our decision,” Landry said in a social media post.

Kennedy announces $19.7 million for vaccine administration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending the Louisiana Department of Health almost $19.7 million to administer COVID-19 vaccine doses, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy announced.

Kennedy is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Vaccinating Louisianians against the coronavirus is key to keeping communities safe and rebuilding our economy, and nearly $20 million is a meaningful step toward accomplishing these goals,” Kennedy said.