Strain Concerned About Bills Filed for Special Session

By Don Molino, Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network

During this daily report on the Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain pointed out several bills have been filed for consideration by the current special legislative session “to further reduce our budget.”

House Bill 5 by Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds would un-dedicate the funds for the Louisiana Agriculture Finance Authority. “That, of course, cannot be done because those funds are dedicated bonds and would violate the bond instrument,” said Strain.

It would also un-dedicate and place into the general fund the Forest Protection Fund and the Forest Productivity Fund. “Those are funds paid by landowners,” says Strain. “The Forest Protection Fund is 8-cents per acre paid by landowners to help buy and maintain firefighting equipment.”

“Timber is the only commodity where the farmers is taxed when it is harvested,” according to Strain. “The pay a severance tax, generally about $16-million a year.  We take a small portion of that and match it with farmer’s money (dollar for dollar) for re-planting.”

Also affected by House Bill 5 is the Equine Health Studies Program Fund that pays for that program at both the LSU AgCenter and the Southern University Ag Center.

Strain also reminded his listeners you can watch the legislature live by logging on to:  legis.state.la.us.