According to The Times-Picayune, proposed Senate bill 81 would allow Louisiana restaurants to get a 4% rebate if they use local seafood, beef, rice, yams, corn, or other state-grown or harvested products. The money would come from fees assessed by the various industries themselves.
The bill, which would create the "Louisiana Buy Local Purchase Incentive Program," cleared the Senate May 16 on a 30-1 vote and last week was given a 10-0 endorsement by the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development. It needs to pass a final vote of the full House and go back to the Senate for approval of technical language before it is sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal for his approval or rejection.
The program is designed to encourage farmers and fishers to continue producing and supplying restaurants with homegrown products, and creates an incentive for restaurants to "buy local." It is a three-year pilot program that ends in 2014, but can be extended by lawmakers.
Agriculture-Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said if the bill passes, he will meet with the various segments of the agricultural and fishing industries or their promotion and marketing boards to see whether they want to ante up money to fund the program. The bill says the maximum the fund can have is $7 million in each fiscal year.
Louisiana Restaurant Association President-Chief Executive Officer Stan Harris said his members like the bill's concept as well as "the idea of the sustainability of a food supply and buying local products."
The Times-Picayune article