Early Thursday morning, Acadia Parish lawmakers sat down for breakfast and listened to the top issues for residents in their area. It was all part of the legislative breakfast, hosted by the Crowley and Rayne Chamber of Commerce.
Brewing issues heated up the early morning breakfast. It was an opportunity for business owners and constituents to ask questions directly to legislators before they head into session. Senator Dan "Blade" Morrish, District 25, was among the panel.
"This was a great group. They asked a lot of questions," said Moorish. "It gets us in the frame of mind to know not what we think, but what our constituents think."
Most of the questions were geared towards tax reform and in particular, state income tax. Senator Jonathan Perry, District 26, said that's one of the top areas of focus.
"Yes, everyone needs a break on income tax," said Perry. "But, in my opinion, it cannot fall on small business owners. That would cripple any kind of relief on what we're trying to do."
One thing the panel did want everyone to take away from Thursday's meeting, is an understanding that balancing the state's budget and tax reform cannot be lumped together.
"I want to make it clear that tax reform and the budget are two separate issues," said Morrish. "You pass tax reform—you still have a $1 billion deficit. And I think we need to be more focused on the budget."
There are a lot of issues at stake this session, but both senators are working on their own bills. Morrish has a tax reform bill in the works and Perry wants to streamline concealed weapons permits.
"It's a very simple bill," said Morrish. "It simply says we'll do away with income tax and phase it in over the next 10 years."
"It (2nd amendment rights) should be one of the most guarded rights we have," said Perry. "Hopefully the bill I'm having will encourage people to become concealed weapons people and to protect themselves more."
The upcoming legislative session begins April 8th.