LT. GOV. LANDRIEU: LEGISLATIVE SESSION A MAJOR VICTORY FOR TOURISM, CULTURAL ECONOMY & THE ARTS -- 06/28/2007
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2007
LT. GOV. LANDRIEU: LEGISLATIVE SESSION A MAJOR VICTORY FOR TOURISM, CULTURAL ECONOMY & THE ARTS
Baton Rouge, LA - As the 2007 Regular Legislative Session adjourned, Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu declared victory for Louisiana's tourism industry and cultural economy, as well as the state's school children.
"We passed landmark legislation to strengthen education, tax policy and investments for tourism and the cultural economy," Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu said. "This session was a homerun with significant pieces of legislation related to tourism and culture moving to the governor's desk for signature. These industries are now poised to create more jobs and a greater economic impact for the state."
"Our legislative agenda was based on extensive research and was fiscally responsible," said Angele Davis, Secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Smart investments and progressive tax policies will strengthen our tourism and cultural economy."
INCREASING FUNDS FOR TOURISM PROMOTION
A key component of the Lt. Governor's legislative package was HB 270 (Alario) to lift the cap on tourism funding. Signed into law on June 26, 2007, Act 30 increases the dollars available to market Louisiana as a premier tourism destination by $6.8 million in fiscal year 2007-08.
"The passage of this legislation was the top priority for the tourism industry because more money for tourism promotion translates into more visitors, more jobs, and a greater economic impact for the state," Lt. Governor Landrieu said. "Thanks to our effective ad campaign and the hard work of so many across the state, Louisiana tourism is on the upswing. This legislation gives us an important tool to keep the industry moving in the right direction."
CULTURAL ECONOMY TAX INCENTIVE
HB 359 allows local governments to designate cultural product districts, where one-of-a-kind works of art can be sold without sales tax and the rehabilitation of historic properties is encouraged with tax incentives.
"We are building on the successful models of Downtown Development Districts and the Main Street Initiative to create hubs of cultural activity in local communities across the state," Landrieu said. "This will be a great tool for communities working to revitalize their downtown areas."
PUTTING MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN EVERY LOUISIANA PUBLIC SCHOOL
The Lt. Governor's Arts-in-Education bill, SB 299 (Broome), will put music and the arts in every Louisiana public school. This is transformational legislation.
"We want to put music and the arts back in schools because research shows that when children are exposed to the arts, dropout rates go down, test scores go up, and math and science skills improve," Landrieu said. "Additionally, we give our children a very special gift - we equip them with the knowledge and skills to take our culture forward."
OTHER MILESTONE LEGISLATION FOR THE CULTURAL ECONOMY
"Broadway South and efforts to improve the state's film industry tax incentives complement my office's legislative package," Landrieu said. "When you put all of these legislative successes together, it is clear that the cultural economy is here to stay."
SECURING THE FUTURE OF THE FILM INDUSTRY
FUNDING FOR LIBRARIES, MUSEUMS, PARKS, CULTURE AND TOURISM
The following list highlights general fund and capital outlay investments included in HB 1 and HB 2, related to libraries, museums, parks, culture and tourism:
State Aid to Public Libraries was doubled from $1.5 million to $3 million. The funds will be distributed to public libraries to strengthen the libraries in the areas of technology and collections.
Significant investments were made in reforestation efforts and the recovery of New Orleans City Park ($1 million).
Investments were increased in successful cultural economy initiatives including, Louisiana Main Street (additional $489k), Arts Division Grants (additional $424k) and Decentralized Arts Funding (additional $150k).
Funding was allocated to attract key sporting and entertainment events including the 2008 NBA All Star Game ($2.5 million), the 2008 Sugar Bowl ($3 million), the 2008 Independence Bowl ($358,000), and the Essence Music Festival ($1.3 million).
Investments were made in key tourism and cultural economy infrastructure, including the Sci-Port Discovery Center ($300k), the Alexandria Zoo ($175k), the Strand Theatre ($200k), the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center ($8 million), and Louisiana Arts and Science Museum ($650k).
The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention Center received funding for operations shortfalls ($4 million).
SUMMARY OF LEGISLATION RELATED TO TOURISM, CULTURAL ECONOMY, THE ARTS & VOLUNTEERISM
HB 270 (Act 30) - Lift the Cap on Tourism Funding, Rep. Alario
HB 366 - Atchafalaya and Cane River Heritage Tax Exemptions, Rep. Townsend
SB 364 - French Quarter-Marigny Historic Area Management District, Sen. Murray
HB 727 (Act 109)- Limits Liability for Volunteers, Rep. Alexander
SB 299 (Act 175) - Putting Music and the Arts in Public Schools, Sen. Broome
HB 359 - Cultural Products Districts, Rep. Townsend
HB 936 - Motion Picture Investor Tax Credits, Rep. Townsend
SB 218 - Broadway South¸ Sen. Murray
HB 141 and HB 361 - Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credits, Rep. Townsend