Letter from the Executive Director

Dear readers,

This edition of Open Road Magazine is all about the future! As your new executive director, I took some time to introduce myself and lay the groundwork for how I intend to help grow this great association.  We also look closely at what to expect regarding ELDs in the short and long-term moving forward and highlight what the Trump Administration’s tax reform package could mean for the trucking industry. Additionally, we highlight long-overdue traffic relief in Baton Rouge that is on the horizon, and talk about how we can lead against human trafficking.

Speaking of the near future, here is a brief overview of what to expect over the next few months concerning the state legislature:

As with every governor’s tenure, the legislative sessions during the last two years of a term are more difficult than the first two years. Such is life in Louisiana, where a four-year election cycle has both the governor and all state legislators up for re-election at the same time. The legislative sessions of this Governor’s first two years have been no cakewalk, so we should all brace for an eventful 2018 and 2019.

In general terms, the primary issue facing the legislature is (and has long been) how to finance the general fund, which is the primary source of revenue for two costly areas of government: education and healthcare. Most other government services are substantially or wholly funded by dedicated taxes or fees, such as the fuel tax to transportation, permitting fees to DEQ, and so on. Income and sales taxes mostly capitalize the general fund, so its revenue will ebb and flow with the economy, while education and healthcare costs tend to increase every year.

The decades old debate over how to reduce costs and fund the most expensive areas of government will continue to be there in the future, but some decisions in the legislature could help Louisiana grow its way to fewer budget crises. You can count on LMTA to be there fighting for the trucking industry every step of the way!

For the 2018 Regular Legislative Session, taxing is off limits. However, as I write this update, the Governor’s special fiscal session just concluded without any action being taken to solve next year’s projected general fund deficit that is caused, in part, because the temporary one-cent sales tax falls off the books on July 1.  It is inevitable at this point that another special session will be called so that the legislature can consider revenue measures prior to July 1.

In this year’s regular session, which is underway, expect to see several issues debated that are important to the trucking industry.  From special permits to lane restrictions, certain legislators and interest groups will again test the LMTA and the industry we represent. My goal will always be to promote safe and reasonable solutions for the industry.  I may be new as your Executive Director, but I am an expert in public policy and government relations. I am up to the challenges that lay ahead, so please rest assured that LMTA will continue to deliver for the trucking industry.

New to the legislative session this year will be “LMTA Day at the Capitol” on May 1st. Be on the lookout for more information from LMTA about participating in this event.  It will be an excellent educational opportunity for both LMTA members and legislators. I am looking forward to seeing you there!

I hope you enjoy this issue of Open Road.

D. Chance McNeely