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NELA Economic Recovery Task Force member talks policy recommendations



MONROE, La. – Northeast Louisiana businesswoman Meryl Kennedy Farr is on the Louisiana Economic Recovery Task Force aimed at providing policy recommendations to state legislatures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farr is the owner of the Kennedy Rice Mill in Morehouse parish.

She said many of the policy recommendations from the task force’s Friday zoom meeting revolved around tax policy.

“We have certain obligations in the state of Louisiana that other states don’t have, and so I think this is a really good way we could potentially jumpstart the economy,” she said.

She said one thing that could help immediately would be to push the filing deadline back.

Another option would be examining the tax code to find ways to provide more relief to taxpayers. Farr said, when looking for ways to jumpstart the economy, it’s important to consider their options, regardless of whether or not they’re controversial

“These are all things we’ve got to put on the table, whether they’re controversial or not, they all have to be looked at in the situation that we’re under,” she said.

Farr said the task force is also looking at ways to lower auto insurance and ensure that internet access is available statewide.

“If we don’t have internet access then people can’t really work from home, their children can’t really do their homework from home, right? So this is a really important issue. So I do think on really a national level, this is a crisis, but on a state level, we should be taking it seriously. And I know that there’s several bills, actually, to get this passed to provide internet to all people, even to the rural places in our state,” she said.

They’re also looking for new ways to create revenue. Farr said one idea could be to allow online gambling in the state, though she said this idea is controversial and would take some time if it were to make it through the state legislature.