Gov. Bobby Jindal signed bills Thursday to expand Interstate 49 North and to extend a tax credit for historic building renovations.
The governor’s approval of House Bill 370, House Bill 348 and Senate Bill 63 leaves him with less than a dozen pieces of legislation to sign. Hundreds of bills advanced to his desk from the 2011 Regular Legislative Session.
Still awaiting his review are bills dealing with fake bath salts and the movement of the University of New Orleans from the LSU System.
The governor signed House Bill 370 by state Rep. Jane Smith, R-Bossier City, at the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.
The bill calls for the state to borrow money for the $160 million needed to complete I-49 North to the Arkansas line.
Two sections are yet to be completed: a 4.25-mile stretch and a 1-mile stretch.
The project is expected to be finished within the next several years.
From Shreveport, Jindal flew to New Orleans, where he signed legislation at the Saenger Theater.
Jindal’s focus in the Crescent City was House Bill 348 by state Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans, and Senate Bill 63 by state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans.
HB348 extends a tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic or blighted homes. For most structures, taxpayers will get a 25 percent state income tax credit on expenses. For blighted property, the credit increases to 50 percent.
The legislation is a renewal and an expansion of an existing program.
Leger said he hopes the bill will encourage people to rehabilitate vacant and blighted property. “It’s going to benefit anybody that wants to rehabilitate a residence in any part of the state that’s over 50 years old,” he said. “It’s certainly going to benefit New Orleans, but there are stakeholders all over the state.”
SB63 extends an expiring income and corporate franchise tax credit for the rehabilitation of commercial and rental historic property in downtown development and cultural areas. The credit is limited to $5 million per district.
The Legislative Fiscal Office estimated that both bills will reduce state revenue but did not project by how much.