WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Links Links en-us Copyright 2016, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 30 Jun 2016 19:06:29 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Annual "Beat the Heat" fan and A/C unit donation drive for seniors starts http://www.wbrz.com/news/annual-beat-the-heat-fan-and-a-c-unit-donation-drive-for-seniors-starts/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/annual-beat-the-heat-fan-and-a-c-unit-donation-drive-for-seniors-starts/ Links Thu, 23 Jun 2016 4:38:54 PM Brock Sues Annual

BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging has announced they’ll begin the distribution of fans and air conditioner units as part of its annual “Beat the Heat” drive.

Last year, the agency says they collected more than 800 fans and A/C units to distribute to needy senior citizens in the parish. Estimates for this year’s drive easily exceed that number.

DRIVE CRITERIA

Criteria in place for being eligible to receive the donated items include the following:

  • Only one fan or A/C unit will be distributed per household
  • Agency Care Managers must perform an assessment within the home

Once eligibility is confirmed, the agency will distribute the donated items at the EBR Council on Aging’s main location at 5790 Florida Blvd. from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning on Thursday, June 23. The distribution drive will continue until the end of summer.

Individuals coming to collect items must bring proper identification. The agency says they are also still accepting donations of new fans and A/C units. They may be dropped off at the same location as pickup for the drive on Florida Boulevard.

For more information on the Beat the Heat Fan and Air Conditioner Drive, visit www.ebrcoa.org or call 225-923-8000. More details about the drive are also available on the Beat the Heat drive Facebook page.


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Who will pay? A look at tax bills approved by lawmakers http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-will-pay-a-look-at-tax-bills-approved-by-lawmakers-85585/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-will-pay-a-look-at-tax-bills-approved-by-lawmakers-85585/ Links Wed, 22 Jun 2016 1:57:40 PM ApNewsNow Who will pay? A look at tax bills approved by lawmakers

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana lawmakers were nearing the Thursday end of a special session aimed at raising more money for next year's budget through tax changes. Here's a look at bills that passed and those that failed to win support (revenue figures are estimates):

SENT TO THE GOVERNOR:

-Lessen the tax break for homeowners and renters who are charged an assessment on property insurance to cover debts of the state-run Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Currently, the rebate is 72 percent of the Citizens assessment charged on property insurance bills. That drops to 25 percent, retroactive to Jan. 1. Revenue raised: $17 million for the financial year that begins July 1 and $139.6 million over five years. House Bill 25.

-Change the calculation of interest on tax overpayments. Revenue raised: $16.3 million in state general fund money for the financial year that begins July 1 and $94.3 million over five years. House Bill 29.

-Increase the annual tax on certain health care organizations known as HMOs from 2.25 percent to 5.5 percent. Revenue raised: $157.4 million in the financial year that begins July 1 and more than $600 million over five years. House Bill 35.

-Increase a tax credit for HMOs. Revenue lost: $1.3 million in the financial year that begins July 1 and another $1.3 million the following year. House Bill 24.

-Address a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that could have manufacturers lessen their state and local tax payments. No revenue estimated to be raised or lost. The bill is aimed at keeping the status quo in place before the ruling. House Bill 27.

-Change the method for calculating corporate income taxes for certain industries. Revenue raised: The bill is expected to raise more money, but the amount was uncertain. House Bill 20.

-Reduce the individual income tax deduction for net capital gains. Revenue raised: The bill is expected to raise more money, but the amount was uncertain. House Bill 50.

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NEARING FINAL PASSAGE:

-Place new limits on the inventory tax credit for businesses that also get an exemption from paying local property taxes on their facilities. Those businesses wouldn't be able to get a rebate check, but instead would only be able to apply the inventory tax credit to their actual tax liabilities. The change would affect large manufacturers. Revenue raised: $57 million for the financial year that begins July 1 and $285 million over five years. Senate Bill 10.

-Rework the inventory tax credit in a way that favors small businesses, but also lessens its cost to the state. Revenue raised: $12 million in the financial year that begins July 1 and $60 million over five years. Senate Bill 6.

-End the unintentional charging of state sales taxes on items like school lunches, tickets to school athletic events, firefighting equipment and prosthetic devices. The cleanup bill was aimed at sales tax increases passed in a special session earlier this year that swept in items that weren't meant to be taxed. House Bill 51.

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FAILED TO WIN SUPPORT:

-Increase the state individual income tax for the 23 percent of taxpayers who itemize deductions on their personal income tax forms, by cutting the percentage or type of federal excess itemized deductions they can deduct. House Bills 11 and 38.

-Increase the state individual income tax on people with taxable income of $17,500 or more, by changing the middle and upper income brackets for calculating the tax. House Bill 40.

-Make across-the-board cuts to a list of tax break programs. House Bills 31, 32 and 34.

-Delay the statewide vote on a proposal to rewrite Louisiana's corporate tax laws until 2017. Instead, voters will be asked to consider the business tax revamp on the November ballot as initially planned. House Bill 5.

-Increase the amount of a state tax credit for the working poor, called the Earned Income Tax Credit. Senate Bill 7.

-Eliminate the state tax deduction for federal income taxes in exchange for a lower, flat individual tax rate. House Bills 7, 17 and 33.

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Revenue estimates sources: Legislative Fiscal Office, House Fiscal Division and Senate Fiscal Services.


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50 dead, 5 in critical condition after Orlando nightclub shooting http://www.wbrz.com/news/50-dead-5-in-critical-condition-after-orlando-nightclub-shooting/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/50-dead-5-in-critical-condition-after-orlando-nightclub-shooting/ Links Sun, 12 Jun 2016 6:51:45 AM WBRZ Staff 50 dead, 5 in critical condition after Orlando nightclub shooting

ORLANDO - A gunman opened fire at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday, killing 50 people and wounding 53 more before he was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members. Authorities say he may have had a connection with radical Islamic terrorism. Here's what we know about the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history:

MASS CASUALTIES:

At least 50 people are dead, and 53 were hospitalized, most in critical condition, officials said. A surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center said the death toll was likely to climb.

The city of Orlando is publishing the names of those killed on its website after their families have been contacted. The city's website includes the #PrayforOrlando hashtag and says officials are "working tirelessly" to get information to families. The list can be found here.

Sunday night, workers brought four bodies on stretchers out of club Pulse and loaded them into white vans. The action was repeated over and over.

The bodies were then taken to the Orange County Medical Examiner's office.

THE SHOOTER:

Authorities identified the shooter as 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida. His father, Seddique Mateen, told NBC News that his son got angry when he recently saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago. Seddique said the attack had nothing to do with religion.

Mateen's father is a native of Afghanistan who appears on a television program on broadcast on a California channel.

The show is known for "its anti-US tirades" and "pro-Taliban" remarks that are broadcast in the Dari language, according to a former Afghan official. 

Omar Mateen had been licensed as a private security officer in Florida. Records show he held the firearms license since at least 2011.

Ronald Hopper of the FBI says Mateen was an American citizen. Hopper says Mateen purchased at least two firearms legally within the last week or so.

A law enforcement official says Mateen made a 911 call from the club, professing allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Hopper says some 911 calls involving the shooter and the massacre have become federal evidence. He says the conversations involved the Islamic State.

Hopper says the shooter in 2013 made inflammatory comments to co-workers , and that Mateen was interviewed twice. Hopper calls those interviews inconclusive.

In 2014, Hopper says, officials found that Mateen had ties to an American suicide bomber. Hopper describes the contact as minimal; it did not constitute a threat at that time.

He was cleared after both investigations.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says investigators have not yet found evidence of direct communication between Mateen and Islamic State members overseas. Rep. Adam Schiff says it is possible that Omar Mateen was self-radicalized but not "under the command and control of ISIS."

Mateen's ex-wife, Sitora Yusifiy says Mateen was bipolar and also had a history with steroids.

She says that in the four months they were together he cut her off from her family and regularly beat her. She says that her family visited her and saw she wasn't OK and rescued her from the situation.

Yusifiy says they literally pulled her out of his arms. She says she left all her belongings and has had no contact with him for seven or eight years.

She says Mateen was religious, but she saw no signs of radicalism.

Of the nightclub massacre she says, "there was no sign of any of this at all."

ACT OF TERROR?:

During a press conference Sunday afternoon, President Obama called the attack an "act of terror" and called it "the most deadly shooting in American history.

Obama ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings until sunset Thursday "as a mark of respect for victims of the act of hatred and terror." He's also directing the same observance at embassies and other U.S. government facilities abroad.

At a news conference Sunday morning, authorities labeled the situation as a domestic terrorism situation. CNN reported investigators are considering the attack a possible hate crime.

WHAT HAPPENED:

The rampage started around 2 a.m. Orlando time Sunday at Pulse nightclub, a club that bills itself as a gay nightclub in the downtown area.  About 300 people were likely inside the club at the time of the shooting.

Police say Mateen opened fire on patrons early Sunday. He also exchanged fire with an officer working at the club. Police say Mateen then went back inside and took hostages. Police sent in a SWAT team to rescue hostages about 5 a.m. and Mateen died in an exchange of gunfire with SWAT officers. Thirty people were rescued from inside the club.

Police say 11 officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter. Also, officials say three deputy sheriffs actively engaged, and fired their weapons. They're relieved of duties pending an investigation. That's typical procedure in such cases.

SECOND DEADLY SHOOTING IN TWO DAYS:

The attack follows the fatal shooting late Friday of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie, who was killed after her concert in Orlando by a 27-year-old Florida man who later killed himself. Grimmie was a YouTube sensation and former contestant on "The Voice."

CANDIDATES BEGIN GUN DEBATE:

Donald Trump isn't pausing his political commentary for the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Trump tweeted as Obama began speaking: "Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn't he should immediately resign in disgrace!"

The shooting has thrust the topic of gun control back into focus as a presidential election nears.

Obama says shooting is a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get a weapon that allows them to shoot people in a school, in a house of worship, a movie theater or a gay nightclub. Speaking from the White House, Obama says the United States has to decide if that is the "country we want to be." He says that doing nothing is a decision as well.

Hillary Clinton has called for expanding background checks to sales at gun shows and online purchases, and for reinstating a ban on assault weapons. Trump said the existing background check system should be fixed, not expanded, and that assault-weapons bans do not work.

IN OUR AREA:

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released a statement about the shooting:

"There are no words that will comfort the survivors and families of the victims of this tragic incident, but it is our hope that the people of Florida will find solace in this scripture during this very difficult time. This is a senseless tragedy of unimaginable scale. In the face of adversity, as we always do, we stand united against acts of terrorism that threaten our people and our way of life. Donna and I, along with every citizen in Louisiana, send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. We stand ready to support the State of Florida in any way that we can to bring justice for those whose lives were lost."

Edwards, Senate President John Alario, House Speaker Taylor Barras, and members of the Louisiana Legislature will participate in a “Moment of Unity."  The event will take place at 1 p.m. Monday in the rotunda of the Louisiana State Capitol.

Capital City Alliance and other LGBT organizations plan to hold a vigil to pay respect to the shooting victims. The event is planned for Monday night between 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

ONE DAY AFTER THE SHOOTING:

On Monday, the city released a list containing the names and ages of the victims of the nightclub shooting who have had their next of kin notified. The list will be periodically updated on www.cityoforlando.net/blog/victims/ as those who died are identified and families and loved ones notified. The city gave no additional information other than the names.

- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
- Juan Ramon Guerroro, 22
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
- Luis S. Vielma, 22
- Kimberly Morris, 37
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
- Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
-Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Amanda Alvear, 25
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26
- Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
- Cory James Connell, 21
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25

Hospital officials in Florida listed five people in "grave condition" late Monday morning after they were wounded in the attack at the nightclub. According to Orlando Regional Medical Center, 29 people remain at the hospital in total with a number of the patients remaining critically ill or in a state of shock. Monday will see doctors carry out six more surgeries a day after the shooting that took the lives of 50 people including the shooter.

News 2 will carry the 1 p.m. "Moment of Unity" mentioned earlier in this story on Facebook Live. Check back with this story throughout the day as more details are released.


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8-month-old's death a tragic reminder of hot car danger http://www.wbrz.com/news/8-month-old-s-death-a-tragic-reminder-of-hot-car-danger/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/8-month-old-s-death-a-tragic-reminder-of-hot-car-danger/ Links Wed, 8 Jun 2016 5:14:40 PM Brock Sues 8-month-old's death a tragic reminder of hot car danger

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says Wednesday’s tragic death of an 8-month-old girl in a hot car highlights just how dangerous it can be to leave children in a parked vehicle.

"While we don't yet know all the details about the heartbreaking death of Raylee Mercer, we do know she had been left in a hot car for two hours," said John LeBlanc of the LHSC. "It is vitally important to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. If anyone notices a child alone in a car, they should take immediate action.”

According to the NHTSC, parents, babysitters or bystanders should take the following steps immediately in the event that they spot a child left alone in a car who is not responsive or appears to be in distress:

- Call 911
- Get the child out of the car
- Spray the child with cool water (not an ice bath)

The warning signs of heat stroke include red, hot and moist or dry skin, no sweating, strong and rapid pulse or slow and weak pulse, confusion and strange behavior.

LeBlanc also advises parents and babysitters to get into the habit of checking the back seat of their vehicles before locking the car and walking away. One tip is to keep a stuffed animal or another reminder in the child’s car seat when it is empty and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when a child occupying the backseat.

In an instance of cruel coincidence, the girl’s death fell on the day that had officially been declared by the NHTSA as Child Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention Day. The NHTSA says 671 children have died from heatstroke in cars in the U.S. since 1998.

For more tips and info on preventing vehicular heatstroke, please visit: www.kidsandcars.org/userfiles/dangers/heat-stroke/heat-stroke-safety-tips.pdf or www.safercar.gov/parents/InandAroundtheCar/heatstroke.htm.


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Enrollment for Louisiana's Medicaid expansion opens Wed. http://www.wbrz.com/news/enrollment-for-louisiana-s-medicaid-expansion-opens-wed-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/enrollment-for-louisiana-s-medicaid-expansion-opens-wed-/ Links Tue, 31 May 2016 12:22:03 PM AP News Now Enrollment for Louisiana's Medicaid expansion opens Wed.

BATON ROUGE - People interested in getting insurance coverage through Louisiana's new Medicaid expansion can begin signing up Wednesday.
    
Residents can apply online at www.healthy.la.gov or by phone at 1-888-342-6207. Gov. John Bel Edwards and Health and Hospitals Secretary Rebekah Gee also are expected to announce local application centers at an enrollment kickoff event Wednesday in New Orleans.
    
Louisiana will become the 32nd state to expand the government-financed health insurance program to the working poor when the new coverage begins July 1.
    
Medicaid expansion will cover adults ages 19 to 64 making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $16,200 for a single adult or $33,400 for a family of four.
    
The Edwards administration estimates 375,000 people will get insurance from the expansion over the next year.

Below is an embed of a spreadsheet that lists facilities enrolling people in Medicaid for the Baton Rouge area:


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Everything you need to know for Bayou Country SuperFest http://www.wbrz.com/news/everything-you-need-to-know-for-bayou-country-superfest/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/everything-you-need-to-know-for-bayou-country-superfest/ Links Fri, 27 May 2016 10:45:08 AM Kevin Dupuy Everything you need to know for Bayou Country SuperFest

BATON ROUGE – The annual Bayou Country Superfest kicks off Friday night at LSU’s Tiger Stadium.

The three-day event will feature performances by Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town and several others.

The Lineup

Friday, May 27:

Randy Rogers Band - 7 p.m.

Little Big Town - 7:45 p.m.

Lady Antebellum - 9:05 p.m.

Luke Bryan - 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 28

Brothers Osborne - 5 p.m.

Frankie Ballard 5:40 p.m.

Cole Swindell - 6:35 p.m. 

Darius Rucker - 7:45 p.m.

Eric Church - 9:35 p.m.

Sunday, May 29

A Thousand Horses - 5 p.m.

Dustin Lynch - 5:45 p.m.

Thomas Rhett - 6:50 p.m.

Dierks Bently - 8:15 p.m.

Jason Aldean - 10:10 p.m.

Free Fan Fest and Tailgating

Event organizers and LSU invite fans to come early to enjoy tailgating outside of Tiger stadium. Fan Fest is free and open to the public will take place at Lot 101 (Tiger Stadium at Nicholson Drive) Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Activities and attractions for Fan Fest include:

LSU football tailgating

Musical performances on the Bud Light Stage

Tents selling official festival merchandise

Artist meet and greet area for fans to meet Bayou Country Superfest Performers

LSU Facilities Services will distribute trash bags throughout campus for convenience. First aid stations will be staffed throughout the stadium for festival goers that need assistance.

More information about tailgating restrictions can be found at the official Bayou Country Superfest Website.

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased online at bayoucountrysuperfest.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

The Bayou Country Superfest Box Office will be located at Fan Fest outside of Tiger Stadium and will be open from May 27-29 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Children under 2-years-old are admitted free; no seat provided.

Weather Radars

Parking and Traffic

Parking will be available for first-come first-served purchase on event days. Parking is cash only.

Vehicle parking lots will be open on event days starting at 9 a.m. There is no overnight parking in the parking lots and vehicles will be towed if left overnight.

ADA parking spaces will be available in Lot 108 for $30. Shuttle transportation from Lot 108 to the stadium will be available for ADA Festival goers.

Stay tuned to WBRZ News 2 online and on Facebook and Twitter for traffic and weather updates throughout the event.

Transportation

North Stadium Drive and South Stadium Dive will be closed to traffic. North Stadium Drive between the PMAC and Tiger Stadium will be closed to pedestrians.

Hotel shuttles/Uber/Taxis can drop-off and pick-up passengers in the front part of Lot 406 on Skip Bertman Drive.

Information about the Baton Rouge Capitol Area Transit System can be found at www.brcats.com or by calling 225-929-7740.

 


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A trip through the history of Mike the Tiger http://www.wbrz.com/news/a-trip-through-the-history-of-mike-the-tiger/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/a-trip-through-the-history-of-mike-the-tiger/ Links Mon, 23 May 2016 1:55:52 PM Brock Sues A trip through the history of Mike the Tiger

BATON ROUGE - Despite the announcement Monday that LSU's live tiger mascot is to be treated for a rare form of cancer, Mike VI will remain one of just two live tigers left representing U.S. universities in the country. LSU's first tiger arrived in the fall of 1936 after nearly two years of planning by university officials. Through the years, LSU has had to replace the mascot a total of five teams, giving LSU a roster of six "Mikes" that have represented the school.

As the current Mike iteration prepares to receive medical attention from LSU veterinarians and Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, here's a trip through all of the generations of LSU live tiger mascots.


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Businesses in three parishes eligible for federal disaster assistance http://www.wbrz.com/news/businesses-in-three-parishes-eligible-for-federal-disaster-assistance/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/businesses-in-three-parishes-eligible-for-federal-disaster-assistance/ Links Fri, 6 May 2016 2:20:58 PM Brock Sues Businesses in three parishes eligible for federal disaster assistance

BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has granted his request that three parishes qualify for disaster assistance loans as a result of tornadoes that caused swaths of damage in February.

The relief aid will apply to businesses damaged by the high winds of Feb. 23-24. Assumption, St. James and St. John parishes are covered.

The SBA provides low-interest, long-term loans for physical and economic damage caused by a declared disaster. The SBA issued the declaration after the state’s appeal for major disaster declaration was denied on Apr. 29.

“After meeting the families and seeing the devastation left in the wake of the tornadoes that passed through these three parishes, I promised to do everything within my power to ensure that they would get access to the resources needed to rebuild,” Gov. Edwards said. “My team and I are doing all we can to follow through on that promise. This decision by the SBA is another step toward their recovery. It is my hope and prayer that these families will be able to get back to their normal lives as soon as possible.”

The three parishes that qualify are now eligible for three different types of disaster assistance loans:

1) Home and Personal Property Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and are the victim of a disaster, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the SBA, even if you don't own a business.
2) Business Physical Disaster Loans: Any business or organization located in a declared disaster area and that incurred damage during the disaster may apply for a loan to help replace or restore damaged property.
3) Economic Injury Disaster Loans: If you are in a declared disaster area and have suffered economic injury regardless of physical damage, you may qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

Note that businesses in any parish that borders the three affected parishes qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans only. The eligible parishes include Ascension, Assumption, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne.

The SBA says businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can only lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from happening in the future.

SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by disasters. EIDL aid is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. More details can be obtained by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. You can also find more information at sba.gov/disaster.


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State health officials offer tips to prevent Zika virus transmission http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-health-officials-offer-tips-to-prevent-zika-virus-transmission/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/state-health-officials-offer-tips-to-prevent-zika-virus-transmission/ Links Tue, 3 May 2016 10:13:28 AM Alicia Serrano State health officials offer tips to prevent Zika virus transmission

BATON ROUGE - Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals have developed a plan to protect the public should a Zika outbreak occur in the state.

The plan is to reduce mosquito populations and mobilize against transmission of the virus.

Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary for DHH, said that the state has the emergency management, public health and health care infrastructures to respond if Zika transmission begin to occur,

“Louisiana is home to the particular mosquitoes that can transmit the Zika virus if they become infected with it.” Gee said.

“With mosquito season well on its way, our goal is to mitigate the risk of our own mosquitoes biting individuals returning from areas where Zika is active and to be prepared to respond to any transmissions that might occur if that happens,” she said.

Gee said that she is especially concerned with the spread of Zika from a pregnant woman to her fetus, given the conclusions reached by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the effects of infection on babies.

“The CDC has stated that there is a clear link between Zika virus and microcephaly in babies. I strongly recommend that pregnant women take all appropriate precautions regarding Zika virus to prevent this serious birth defect,” Gee said.


Precautions and Prevention:

Current CDC guidance states that women and men who desire pregnancy and live in an area with active Zika virus transmission should talk to their health care provider and strictly follow steps to prevent both mosquito bites and sexual transmission of the virus.

Pregnant women or women who could be pregnant should consider postponing any travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading and talk to their health care provider if they must do so. They should take strict precautions to prevent mosquito bites during their stay in areas where active transmission is occurring.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Louisianans should take precautions against mosquito bites to prevent any possible transmissions of both Zika and other mosquito-borne infections, especially during summer months when mosquitoes are most active. Recommended precautions include wearing long sleeves and pants, keeping window and door screens in good repair, using EPA-registered insect repellants and removing standing water from around homes and workplaces.

To date, four cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in Louisiana residents who traveled to Caribbean and South American countries, but no cases of Zika virus transmitted locally by mosquito have been detected. More information on Zika virus is available from the CDC at www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.


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Interactive event allows children to experience big trucks up close http://www.wbrz.com/news/interactive-event-allows-children-to-experience-big-trucks-up-close/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/interactive-event-allows-children-to-experience-big-trucks-up-close/ Links Thu, 28 Apr 2016 3:47:32 PM WBRZ Staff Interactive event allows children to experience big trucks up close

BATON ROUGE - The Junior League of Baton Rouge has announced a unique, interactive event called “Touch A Truck” that will allow children to see, touch and explore their favorite big trucks, vehicles and heavy equipment.

They’ll also have a chance to meet the individuals who operate the equipment and get to hear from multiple community partners about topics like car seat safety, CPR and fire safety.

The event will be held at BREC’s Fairgrounds at Airline Highway Park on Apr. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who are sensitive to noise can take advantage of what will be a “silent hour” from 9 to 10 a.m. when horns and sirens will be prohibited. Special events will happen at the top of each hour.

General admission tickets are $10. You can learn more and buy tickets by clicking here.


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La. sales, cigarette and alcohol tax hikes kick in Friday http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-sales-cigarette-and-alcohol-tax-hikes-kick-in-friday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/la-sales-cigarette-and-alcohol-tax-hikes-kick-in-friday/ Links Wed, 30 Mar 2016 10:11:48 AM Melinda Deslatte La. sales, cigarette and alcohol tax hikes kick in Friday

BATON ROUGE - Smokers, drinkers, car renters and every shopper around Louisiana will be paying more for their purchases beginning Friday.
    
Tax hikes on cigarettes, alcohol and car rentals are among many tax changes that take hold April 1.
    
The biggest tax increase will hit nearly every person and business. The 1 percent increase in the state sales tax will boost Louisiana's average state and local sales tax rate to more than 10 percent, the highest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.
    
In addition, a long list of purchases usually free from state sales tax will temporarily lose some of those exemptions.

The owner of Pam's Capitol Corner Market in Baton Rouge, Pam Robertson says the tax increase will impact her profits. "I have to sale six cartons in order buy one carton clear" the store owner said.

The cigarette tax increase is expected to generate 46-millon dollars a year, to help the state reduce it's budget deficit and smokers are not happy with that cost being passed on to them.

Laura Borgelon of Baton Rouge is a smoker for 35-years and she said "We enjoy our cigartettes and it's going to put a strain on everyone who does smoke."  The $1.08 tax is still less than the average state tax accoss the country of $1.61 on a pack of cigarettes.

The cigarette tax isn't the only increase. Sales taxes increases by a penny on the dollar. Taxes will go up on alcohol as well. Lawmakers upped taxes in a special session last month in order to balance the state budget. It was almost one-billion dollars short for the current fiscal year and two billion short for next year.
    
Lawmakers passed the tax increases to help balance Louisiana's budget. They are estimated to raise $300 million by June 30 - and much more for next year's budget.

A breakdown of the taxes are below:

- Increasing the state sales tax from four cents to five cents; the extra penny remains in effect until June 30, 2018, in most cases, but expires on July 1, 2016, for manufacturing equipment and machinery
   
-  Most current exemptions and exclusions on the 4 percent state sales tax are eliminated; all exclusions will be restored by July 1, 2018

- An automobile rental tax, which had expired, is reinstated on gross proceeds at the rate of 2.5 percent (state) and 0.5 percent (local)
   
 - A hotel tax, with revenue flowing to local governments, is expanded to include residential locations such as houses, apartments and condominiums
    
- Sales made in Louisiana by dealers outside the state (such as over the Internet) are subject to the collection and remittance of sales and use tax
    
- The excise tax on cigarettes increases to $1.08
    
 The excise tax on alcoholic beverages increases to:

- Liquor - $0.80 per liter

- Sparkling wine - $0.55 per liter

- Still wines with 14-24 percent alcoholic volume - $0.35 per liter

- Still wines with more than 24 percent alcoholic volume - $0.55 per liter

- Malt beverages - $12.50 per barrel

- Low alcoholic content beverages - $12.50 per barrel


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Who can apply? FEMA Disaster Assistance FAQs http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-can-apply-fema-disaster-assistance-faqs/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-can-apply-fema-disaster-assistance-faqs/ Links Thu, 17 Mar 2016 5:40:40 PM WBRZ Staff Who can apply? FEMA Disaster Assistance FAQs

Who should apply for federal disaster assistance?
Louisiana homeowners, renters and business owners in disaster-designated parishes who sustained damage to their homes, vehicles, personal property, business or its inventory as a result of the ongoing severe storms and floods may apply for disaster assistance.

How do I apply?
Survivors in the designated Louisiana parishes can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3361. Disaster survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. If survivors use 711 or VRS (Video Relay Service) or require accommodations while visiting a center, call 800-621- 3362. All disaster recovery centers are accessible and equipped with tools to accommodate survivors who need disability-related communication aids.  

What kinds of assistance are available?
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured personal property losses and medical, and dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other serious disaster-related expenses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Am I eligible for disaster assistance if I already have insurance?
You should apply for assistance even if you have insurance because you may find that you have unmet needs after you receive your settlement. If you have not already contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, do so right away. Insurance is your main source for money to put your life back in order after a disaster. But insurance does not cover many expenses, so disaster programs may be able to help. You should not wait for your insurance settlement to apply for a low-interest disaster loan from the SBA.

I have applied. What happens next?
After you apply, FEMA will send you a copy of your application and a copy of "Help After a Disaster: Applicant's Guide to the Individuals and Households Program," which will answer many of your questions. This useful publication explains how FEMA's disaster assistance program works; describes additional kinds of help you may qualify for from other federal, state and voluntary agencies; and gives you many important tips on how best to make all these programs work for you. If your home or its contents are damaged and you are uninsured or underinsured, a FEMA inspector may contact you within about 10 days after you apply to schedule a time to meet with you at your damaged home. All inspectors carry photo ID that shows they are affiliated with the U.S. government.

What kinds of low-interest disaster loans does SBA offer and for how much?
If you're a homeowner, you may borrow up to $200,000 from SBA to repair or replace your primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property. Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury. SBA offers low-interest working capital loans (called Economic Injury Disaster Loans) to small businesses, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes having difficulty meeting obligations as a result of the disaster.

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants that help pay for medical, dental and funeral expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, homeowners or renters must complete and submit an SBA loan application to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

Do I have to be a legal U.S. resident to receive Individual Assistance?
Yes. To be eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance grants you must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien. A qualified alien generally includes individuals who are lawful permanent residents or those with refugee or asylum status. Qualified aliens include those permitted in the United States for at least one year for humanitarian purposes, those with conditional entry, those who are Cuban-Haitian entrants and those with petitions for relief based on battery or extreme cruelty by a family member. Check with an immigration expert if you have questions about your legal status.

Is there any assistance available for undocumented immigrants?
If you have a child living at home who is a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien, you may apply for Individual Assistance on that child's behalf and you may be eligible to receive Individual Assistance. You may also be eligible for various programs run by state, local or voluntary agencies. FEMA may provide undocumented, eligible immigrants with short-term, non-cash emergency aid.

How can I check the status of my case?
You may go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call the toll-free FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (FEMA) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.


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UPDATE: Some rivers to remain in flood stage until Thursday http://www.wbrz.com/news/update-some-rivers-to-remain-in-flood-stage-until-thursday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/update-some-rivers-to-remain-in-flood-stage-until-thursday/ Links Sat, 12 Mar 2016 7:46:57 PM Kevin Dupuy; Meteorologist Robert Gauthreaux III UPDATE: Some rivers to remain in flood stage until Thursday

BATON ROUGE – Many river systems near the Capital City remain in major flood stage Sunday after thunderstorms brought record rainfall to the area this week. While the Tickfaw River has already crested, the Amite River is expected to rise in some areas until it crests as late as Tuesday

Officials in Ascension Parish say residents should expect more flooding before the Amite River crests Monday afternoon.

Below are river level forecasts from the National Weather Service: (Note: As with any weather forecast, this information is subject to change. Stay tuned to WBRZ News 2 for updates as more information becomes available).

The Comite River near Joor Road crested at 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon at 26.16 feet. The river will remain in minor flood stage until Monday afternoon. Subdivisions between the Comite River and Beaver Bayou are expected to have moderate flooding until Monday morning.

The Amite River near Denham Springs crested early Sunday morning at 36.09 ft. Sunday morning. The river will remain in moderate flood stage until Monday morning. The NWS predicts possible flooding around Clay Cut Bayou, Jones Creek and Honey Cut Bayou until Sunday evening. Also, areas in Denham Springs west of Florida Avenue will be subject to flooding until Sunday evening.

Downstream at Bayou Manchac, the Amite River is expected to reach major flood stage Monday night. The river is expected to crest at 16.5 ft. Monday morning. The Amite River will remain in major flood stage until Tuesday morning.

Near Port Vincent, the Amite River is expected to reach major flood stage Monday afternoon. The river is expected to crest at 12 ft. and will remain in major flood stage until Tuesday morning. Expect minor flooding to residential areas.

The Tickfaw River has crested, but is expected to remain in moderate flood stage at Holden until Monday morning. In Montpelier, the Tickfaw River is dropping dramatically is below flood stage.

Downstream at Holden, the Tickfaw River is crested just short of the record of 21 ft. set in 1983. The river will remain in moderate flood stage until Monday morning. Property in low areas along the river from I-12 to Parish Road 1036 will likely remain flooded until Monday morning.

In Robert, the Tangipahoa River has already crested at 25.54 ft. but will remain in major flood stage until Tuesdayevening.

The NWS forecasts that the Amite River will reach 7.0 ft. by Tuesday afternoon at French Settlement. It is possible that flooding could cause La. Hwy 16 to close near Port Vincent and the Louisiana Trace will be impassable. Note: At the time of writing, the National Weather Service forecast only extends until 1 p.m. Tuesday for the French Settlement area. Click here to see the updated NWS information. 

For more information, or data from locations not listed in this story, visit the National Weather Service Website by clicking here. 

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to WBRZ Weather online and on Facebook and Twitter for updates as new information becomes available. River stages will be updated through the evening on the WBRZ News 2 24-hour weather channel.


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Sandbags available, waterways closed to recreational boat traffic in Livingston Parish http://www.wbrz.com/news/sandbags-available-waterways-closed-to-recreational-boat-traffic-in-livingston-parish/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/sandbags-available-waterways-closed-to-recreational-boat-traffic-in-livingston-parish/ Links Thu, 10 Mar 2016 2:59:42 PM Brock Sues Sandbags available, waterways closed to recreational boat traffic in Livingston Parish

LIVINGSTON PARISH - Parish officials in Livingston say all waterways will be closed to recreational traffic starting Thursday at 3 p.m. until further as water levels are on the rise due to heavy rainfall.

Sandbags will be available to parish residents at the following locations:

Fire District 1 - Station #2
32401 Hwy 43
Albany

Fire District 2 - Station #1
32280 Terry St.
Springfield

Fire District 2 – Station #2 (Killian)
31447 Hwy 22
Springfield

Fire District 2 - Station #3 (Lizard Creek)
Hwy 1037
Springfield

Fire District 2 – Station #5 (Hutchinson)
25389 Hutchinson Rd.
Springfield

Fire District 3 - Station #1
930 Government St.
Denham Springs

Fire District 4 – Station #1
29758 South Palmetto Dr.
Walker

Fire District 4 – Station #3
34893 Hwy 1019
Watson

Fire District 4 – Station #9
9100 Hillion Hood Rd.
Denham Springs

Fire District 5 – Station #1
8098 Florida Blvd.
Denham Springs

Fire District 6 - Station #1
20550 Circle Dr.
Livingston

Fire District 7 –Station #1
19784 Hwy 42
Livingston

Fire District 7- Station #2
19354 Perrilloux Rd
Livingston

Fire District 8 – Station #1
15160 Hwy 16
French Settlement

Fire District 9 - Station #1
24564 Hwy 22
Maurepas

Fire District 9 - Station #2
20368 Hwy 22
Maurepas

Fire District 10 – Station #1
30928 Hwy 441
Holden

Fire District 11 – Station #1
33815 Hwy 43
Independence

Fire District 11- Station #2
31470 Horseshoe Rd North
Independence

Can back with this story for updates on further road closures in Livingston Parish as they are released.


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Area universities announce closures as severe storms move into BR http://www.wbrz.com/news/area-universities-announce-closures-as-severe-storms-move-into-br/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/area-universities-announce-closures-as-severe-storms-move-into-br/ Links Thu, 10 Mar 2016 2:15:16 PM Brock Sues Area universities announce closures as severe storms move into BR

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Community College and Southern University have announced closures as severe weather impacts the southeastern part of the state.

LSU has announced all classes starting at 3 p.m. are canceled, and the university will close at 3:30 p.m Thursday. The university says Campus Transit and LSU Dining Halls will maintain their regular hours of operation, but all other campus offices will be closed. The LSU Ag Center offices will remain open, according to LSU administration.

The university will open on Friday. All classes and university offices will be operating at normal business hours, according to the University. The University Laboratory School and the LSU Child Care Center will also be open and operate under normal hours..

BRCC announced it will close at 3 p.m. Thursday, and will remain closed on Friday. The college says it may be open on Saturday, but they have yet to make a final decision.

Southern University System campuses in Baton Rouge, including SUBR, SU Ag Center and the SU Law Center, announced they would also close at 3 p.m. Thursday and remain closed on Friday and Saturday due to inclement weather. All classes and activities are canceled.

Southeastern Louisiana University and Our Lady of the Lake College announced that classes will be canceled and the university will also close at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and will remain closed through Friday. 

Check back with this story for further updates about Friday closures.


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New app for smartphones allows citizens to request city services http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-app-for-smartphones-allows-citizens-to-request-city-services/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-app-for-smartphones-allows-citizens-to-request-city-services/ Links Wed, 9 Mar 2016 1:33:54 PM Alicia Serrano New app for smartphones allows citizens to request city services

BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden announced the launch of a new web and smartphone app that aims to provide easy-to-use tools so residents can request government services and report issues in real-time.

The app, called Red Stick 311, allows users to create online accounts to request and then keep track of the status of service requests. Residents can even upload relevant images to go with those requests.

GPS-enabled location services attached to user requests provide an easy way for crews to be dispatched directly to the location of the problem. Crews will be able to leverage the app to save time by coordinating request dispatch with ongoing work based on the location data.

“We live in a world that runs on technology, and because of this, there is an expectation for all devices, platforms, and applications to keep pace,” Mayor Holden said.

The Mayor said the app is a step toward changing the way government has traditionally interacted with its citizens. It also represent the City-Parish's commitment to keeping up evolving technological trends, according to Holden.

Residents can continue to request services or report issues by dialing 311, but officials are encouraging residents to use the new apps.

“Our team at Information Services has been hard at work over the past several years to identify ways in which we can more easily connect citizens to government services, and engage residents in the daily operations of our City-Parish government in meaningful ways,”  Eric Romero, Interim Director of Information Services, said.

Whether it is reporting a pothole and drainage issues or allowing participation in signal studies, the Mayor's Office says they are excited to provide yet another way for residents to interact with government.

As a part of the launch, the City-Parish has also developed a citizen self-help knowledge base that is accessible on the Red Stick 311 home page at 311.brla.gov. The knowledge base will be updated on a regular basis to ensure citizens have access to common information needs that impact their daily lives.

Red Stick 311 is live and available online and in the App Store and Google Play Store as a free download.


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Ascension Parish readies sandbag stations ahead of possible flooding http://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-parish-readies-sandbag-stations-ahead-of-possible-flooding/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ascension-parish-readies-sandbag-stations-ahead-of-possible-flooding/ Links Mon, 7 Mar 2016 2:41:35 PM Alicia Serrano Ascension Parish readies sandbag stations ahead of possible flooding

GONZALES - Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa said Monday that parish drainage, public works and emergency management departments are ready and monitoring weather forecasts for the immediate area in anticipation of predicted stormy weather for later this week.

“Our departments are poised and ready should the need arise," Matassa said. "We will also be providing pre-filled sandbags at various locations throughout the parish."

Bill Roux, director of East Ascension Gravity Drainage District #1, said that pumping systems are being checked to make sure they are at "optimal performance."

"We are fueling up and getting all our portable pumps in place for problem areas. This is a standard operating procedure before any storm," said Roux.

Parish Public Works Director Joey Tureau says his staff is also prepared should storms pass through the area.

"We'll have staff on standby and we'll monitor areas of concern," Tureau said. "We'll be operating as we always do in emergency scenarios."

Emergency Management Director Rick Webre said prefilled sandbags are still available for the public.  Webre said the locations are not locked and the public may help themselves to the sandbags if needed.

Below are the locations:

Prairieville Fire Department  
14517 LA-73, Prairieville, LA 70769

5th Ward Fire Department
39110 LA-22, Darrow, LA 70725

7th District Fire Department Station 71
13432 Roddy Rd, Gonzales, LA 70737

Amant Fire Department
44465 Stringer Bridge Rd, St. Amant, LA 70774

Ascension Parish DPW West
725 Church Street, Donaldsonville, LA  70346

Geismar Fire Department
12171 La. 73, Geismar, LA 70734


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Who could pay? A look at tax bills approved by lawmakers http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-could-pay-a-look-at-tax-bills-approved-by-lawmakers/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-could-pay-a-look-at-tax-bills-approved-by-lawmakers/ Links Sat, 5 Mar 2016 3:02:55 PM APNewsNow Who could pay? A look at tax bills approved by lawmakers

BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the state House and Senate have supported varying measures to change Louisiana's tax laws. Only a few have made it to final passage in a special legislative session that must end Wednesday.

Here's a look of what some of the proposals would do and where they stand:

SALES TAX HIKE (House Bill 62)

Increase Louisiana's 4-cent sales tax by another penny on every dollar spent, starting April 1, without many of the exemptions allowed on the other four pennies of the tax.

Revenue raised: $215 million for this year's budget and $883 million annually.

Status: House passed with Oct. 1, 2017, expiration date. Senate passed with April 1, 2021, expiration date. Final version must be reconciled.

___

CIGARETTE TAXES (House Bills 14)

Boost the cigarette tax from 86 cents per pack to $1.08, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $11 million for this year's budget and $46 million annually.

Status: Passed, sent to the governor.

___

AIRBNB TAX (House Bill 59)

Charge a state sales tax on hotel rooms booked through short-term rental sites like Airbnb.

Revenue raised: Uncertain.

Status: Both the House and Senate have passed the bill. Final version must be reconciled.

___

CAR RENTAL TAX (House Bill 39)

Reinstate a 2.5 percent state car rental tax that expired four years ago, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $800,000 for this year's budget and $5 million for the state annually.

Status: Both the House and Senate have passed the bill. Final version must be reconciled.

___

PHONE TAX (House Bill 72)

Renew the state telecommunications tax that expires April 1.

Revenue raised: $900,000 for this year's budget and $3.4 million annually.

Status: Both the House and Senate have passed the bill. Final version must be reconciled.

___

STADIUM TAX (Senate Bill 22)

Allow sales taxes to be charged at certain events at Louisiana domed stadiums and baseball facilities starting April 1, like music concerts, not for athletic events.

Revenue raised: Uncertain, with some money earmarked for the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.

Status: Senate passed the bill. Awaits decision by the House.

___

ALCOHOL TAXES

Increase the rates charged on liquor, wine and beer, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $7 million for this year's budget and $25 million annually.

Status: House rejected, could come up again.

___

ONLINE SALES TAX (House Bill 30)

Provide a method for collecting state sales tax from online retailers.

Revenue raised: Uncertain.

Status: Passed, sent to the governor.

___

CORPORATE FRANCHISE TAX (House Bill 19)

Charge corporate franchise tax on more businesses, starting Jan. 1, 2017.

Revenue raised: $10 million in the 2016-17 budget year, $89 million in 2017-18 and $94 million after that.

Status: House passed the bill. Awaits decision by the Senate.

___

TAX COLLECTION (House Bills 18, 28 and 43)

Cap the amount a vendor can receive as compensation for timely filing and payment of state sales taxes, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $2 million for this year's budget and $8 million annually.

Status: House passed the bill. Awaits decision by the Senate.

Reduce the discount rate a business receives for timely filing and payment of state alcohol taxes, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $280,000 for this year's budget and $1.1 million annually.

Status: House passed the bill. Awaits decision by the Senate.

Reduce the discount rate for tobacco dealers for expenses related to tax collection, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $275,000 in state general fund for this year's budget and $1.1 million for state general fund annually.

Status: Passed, sent to the governor.

___

BUSINESS TAX BREAKS (House Bills 55 and 87)

Change what businesses can deduct from their income for tax purposes.

Revenue raised: Uncertain.

Status: House passed the bill. Awaits decision by the Senate.

Lessen a tax break given to insurance companies.

Revenue raised: $8 million in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 budget years.

Status: House passed the bill. Awaits decision by the Senate.

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Revenue estimates source: Legislative Fiscal Office.


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Who could pay? A look at tax bills advancing with lawmakers http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-could-pay-a-look-at-tax-bills-advancing-with-lawmakers/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/who-could-pay-a-look-at-tax-bills-advancing-with-lawmakers/ Links Thu, 3 Mar 2016 10:18:41 AM APnewsNow Who could pay? A look at tax bills advancing with lawmakers

BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the House and Senate have supported varying measures to change Louisiana's tax laws. None has made it to final passage so far, with less than a week remaining in the special legislative session.

Here's a look of what some of the proposals would do and where they stand:

SALES TAX HIKE (House Bill 62)

Increase Louisiana's 4-cent sales tax by another penny on every dollar spent, starting April 1, without many of the exemptions allowed on the other four pennies of the tax.

Revenue raised: $215 million for this year's budget and $883 million annually.

Status: House passed with Oct. 1, 2017, expiration date. Senate passed with April 1, 2021, expiration date. Final version must be reconciled.

___

AIRBNB TAX (House Bill 59)

Charge a state sales tax on hotel rooms booked through short-term rental sites like Airbnb.

Revenue raised: Uncertain.

Status: Both the House and Senate have passed the bill, with modest differences. Final version must be reconciled.

___

CAR RENTAL TAX (House Bill 39)

Reinstate a 2.5 percent state car rental tax that expired four years ago, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $800,000 for this year's budget and $5 million for the state annually.

Status: House passed the bill. It awaits debate on the Senate floor.

___

PHONE TAX (House Bill 72)

Renew the state telecommunications tax that expires April 1.

Revenue raised: $900,000 for this year's budget and $3.4 million annually.

Status: House passed the bill. It awaits debate on the Senate floor.

___

STADIUM TAX (Senate Bill 22)

Allow sales taxes to be charged at certain events at Louisiana domed stadiums and baseball facilities starting April 1, like music concerts, not for athletic events.

Revenue raised: Uncertain, with some money earmarked for the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.

Status: Senate passed the bill. It awaits debate in a House committee.

___

SIN TAXES (House Bills 14 and 27)

Boost the cigarette tax from 86 cents per pack to $1.08 and the tax rates charged on liquor, wine and beer, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: Cigarette tax would raise $16 million for this year's budget and $46 million annually. Alcohol taxes would raise $9 million for this year's budget and $28 million annually.

Status: Both bills have stalled, awaiting debate on the House floor.

___

ONLINE SALES TAX (House Bill 30)

Provide a method for collecting state sales tax from online retailers.

Revenue raised: Uncertain.

Status: Both the House and Senate have passed the bill, with modest differences. Final version must be reconciled.

___

SALES TAX COLLECTION (House Bill 43)

Cap the amount a vendor collecting sales tax on behalf of Louisiana can receive as compensation for turning over the payment, starting April 1.

Revenue raised: $2 million for this year's budget and $8 million annually.

Status: House passed the bill. It awaits debate on the Senate floor.

___

ADVANCED PAYMENT OF SALES TAX (House Bill 54)

Change the payment schedule for businesses to submit sales taxes they collect.

Revenue raised: $75 million for this year's budget.

Status: House passed the bill. It awaits debate on the Senate floor.

___

BUSINESS TAX DEDUCTIONS (House Bill 55)

Change what businesses can deduct from their income for tax purposes.

Revenue raised: Uncertain.

Status: House passed the bill. It awaits debate on the Senate floor.

___

INSURANCE COMPANY TAX BREAK (House Bill 87)

Lessen a decades-old tax break given to insurance companies.

Revenue raised: $8.3 million in the 2016-17 budget year and $8.6 million for 2017-18.

Status: House passed the bill. It awaits debate in a Senate committee.

___

Source of revenue estimates: Legislative Fiscal Office.


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The Inner Wheel Club to host 2016 Attic Trash & Treasure Sale http://www.wbrz.com/news/the-inner-wheel-club-to-host-2016-attic-trash-and-treasure-sale/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/the-inner-wheel-club-to-host-2016-attic-trash-and-treasure-sale/ Links Fri, 26 Feb 2016 6:32:40 PM Brock Sues The Inner Wheel Club to host 2016 Attic Trash & Treasure Sale

BATON ROUGE - The Inner Wheel of Baton Rouge is prepped to host their 2016 Attic Trash & Treasure Sale next weekend.

The sale will take place on Mar. 4, 5 and 6 in the old Mervyn’s at the Cortana Mall. Sale hours are as follows:

- Friday, Mar. 4: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Saturday, Mar. 5: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday, Mar. 6: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

All items are half-price on Sunday. Admission is free. Credit cards are accepted.


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