A Louisiana legislative committee rejected a proposed bill that would have imposed a tax on certain college football tickets to help fund a passenger rail project between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. House Bill 621, introduced by Rep. Mack Cormier, D-Belle Chasse, sought to levy a $1 tax per ticket on LSU and Southern football games. The proposed tax was estimated to generate approximately $1 million per year to support the $1.4 billion passenger rail project.
However, the committee voted against the bill on a 10-4 vote. Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, was the primary opponent, questioning why the tax only applied to football tickets and not to other sports or teams like the Saints and Tulane. Magee also pointed out that the tax would disproportionately affect Baton Rouge, while New Orleans would not be impacted.
Cormier defended the proposed tax, stating that he only wanted to impose it on public universities and only on football tickets. He said that the tax would not apply to Tulane and the Saints, and only affected other public universities in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Rep. Joseph Orgeron joined Democrats in supporting the bill.
During the committee hearing, Rep. Matthew Willard, D-New Orleans, echoed Magee's concerns. However, he proposed amendments that would expand the tax to include events in New Orleans, making the cost more equitable. Cormier expressed openness to amending the bill on the house floor.
Committee Chair Stuart Bishop, however, did not allow the bill to move forward, forcing a vote that ultimately failed. The rejection of the bill means that the passenger rail project will have to find funding from other sources.