As the Baton Rouge Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) Committee considers new rules for local application of industrial tax exemptions, they heard starkly different stories by citizens and corporate executives. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce proposed dramatically looser rules on tax breaks, excusing some business from paying any taxes for five years, depending on the size of the corporation. Small business owners and citizen leaders of Together Baton Rouge called on the committee to ensure that tax incentives require job creation and serve in its designed capacity to incentivize (future) business investment, rather than pay for past expenditures.
The local nature of this debate is the result of Together Baton Rouge's efforts to de-centralize tax break decisions so that local entities sacrificing the tax revenue can weigh in on industrial tax break decisions.Read more
'Together Louisiana' Secures Gubernatorial Pledge to Disclose Tax Exemption Applications for Greater Transparency
Industrial Tax Break Info to be Posted Online, Edwards Says, US News & World ReportRead more
A 'crazy' idea from 70-year-old Betsy Smith amidst the lack of an automated federal response sparked the effort: "Rather than just donate money....donate $120 to pay an unemployed person $15 an hour for an 8-hour day's work helping with the cleanup effort."Read more
At Governor Bel Edward's request, Together Baton Rouge will lead a discussion on police tactics and race relations, a conversation the Times-Picayune editorial board says "is important to have." Towards that end, the governor arranged a meeting between the organization and the Department of Justice Community Relations Service, which will convene public meetings to get input on what needs to change.Read more
Study findings show that over the last 10 years, $16.7 billion in local tax revenue has been redirected to subsidize heavy manufacturing, amounting to over $535 thousand per job reportedly created. Louisiana's top 5 environmental polluters, according to the EPA, received $506 million in taxpayer subsidies. Even British Petroleum (BP) received $9.4 million in state subsidies during and after the Deepwater Horizon spill. Louisiana is the only state in the country with a board that gives away local tax revenue, without approval from the local governments losing the money.Read more
In front of 400 leaders assembled at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Together Louisiana leader Rev. Theron Jackson of Shreveport laid out the source of the state's budget shortfall (corporate exemptions and lower income taxes on the wealthy), referred to the reliance on sales taxes as "the big swap" and bluntly stated, "This calls for righteous indignation."Read more