SAVE tax credit passes House after earlier defeat
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers sided with Governor Bobby Jindal's budget dictates Thursday as both houses approved a bill amended to include the controversial SAVE tax credit, which turned into a major sticking point in budget negotiations this session.
With less than two hours before the mandatory end of the legislative session, the House voted 59-43 to approve SB93 with the SAVE credit amendment. The Senate earlier approved the bill 30-9.
The SAVE tax credit would assess a fee on college and university students but simultaneously offset that fee with a tax credit. The tax credit could then be used by Jindal to claim the overall budget remains revenue neutral, while still funneling more revenue to higher education institutions.
House Democrats and other critics of the SAVE credit mounted a last-minute filibuster attempt to stop the bill. The House Ways and Means Committee deferred the credit earlier in the session, and Rep. Jon Bel Edwards (D-LA) called it an "embarrassment" meant to avoid a veto from the governor.
Lawmakers moved on to other tax bills awaiting final approval in the last hour-and-a-half of the session, which must end by 6 p.m. The state is facing a $1.6 billion budget shortfall which threatens steep cuts to health care and higher education.