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
Fighting a four-front battle to better invest local public funds, Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith (NCLI) leaders recently persuaded the Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator to become the first local official in state history to use the newly-granted local authority to reject an industrial tax exemption request.
This month, three more local entities (Caddo Parish, the City of Shreveport, and the Caddo Parish School Board) will vote on multi-million dollar tax exemption requests, one application at a time.Read more
Leaders of Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith (NCLI) hosted a press conference urging Caddo Economic Development not to grant Inferno Manufacturing a tax exemption for work already completed. Citing research by Blackwell Associates Law Firm indicating that granting tax subsidies for work completed violates the state constitution, Interfaith leaders testified that citizens should not be asked to pay for Inferno's already purchased equipment.Read more
After the Ascension Parish Council secretly voted to approve $55 million in tax exemptions, Ascension Parish residents associated with Together Louisiana filed a lawsuit over the Council's secrecy as they conducted the vote. Their approval of industrial tax exemptions would cost Ascension tax-payers $55 million over the next eight years.Read more
Leaders are additionally working to build support for local workforce development program ACTS (Another Chance to Succeed) as a key element in reducing poverty-driven crime.Read more
Eight months after their victory in reforming the state Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), leaders of Together Louisiana noticed that industrial tax exemptions spiked 441% in its last year (2016), with the majority of tax exemptions granted after the reforms passed. They additionally noticed that the Commerce and Industry Board reversed the wording of the measure to undermine the reform that would have limited exemptions to proposals that had secured the approval of the local municipalities sacrificing the revenue.Read more
Reforms include requirements that impacted local tax authorities approve the subsidy, including municipal government, school boards and law enforcement; exemptions demonstrate a Return on Investment (ROI) for new jobs or retention of good jobs; and that subsidy applicants sign contractual agreements based on promised investments and local hires.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