The legislation’s author, State Representative Mandie Landry, described it as “the happy little bill” and with good reason. Often the state legislature can be a contentious place, but HB 255, which establishes a tax credit for restaurants that recycle oyster shells, sailed through both the senate and the house without a single opposing vote.
“Everyone loved the bill,” Landry says. “It helps the coast, it helps restaurants, and we all love oysters.”
The new law, Act 404, goes into effect starting January 1, 2024. Now, it’s just a question of the state setting up guidelines so participating restaurants can receive the credit. For now, restaurants should be aware that the law will allow a refundable credit against corporate or personal income taxes of $1 for each 50-pound of oyster shell up to $2,000 in credits per claimant.
Chefs Brigade partner, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL), worked with Landry to make the law a reality. CRCL’s Director of Communications and Marketing James Karst reports that it has sparked new interest in their oyster shell recycling program. To date, the program has collected more than 13 million pounds of oyster shell which in turn has created 8,000 feet of living shoreline since 2014.
“There are some restaurants who are expressing interest,” Karst says. “People are talking about it and they’re interested in seeing how it will work.”
The state guidelines and regulations should be out soon. According to the CRCL website, any restaurants participating in their program, which includes a number of Chefs Brigade restaurant partners, will receive an annual report documenting the amount of shell recycled. From the report, the establishment will be able to apply for the tax credit.