Before a packed house of leaders from Together Louisiana, and after eight intense rounds of public testimony, the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry voted to defer all renewal applications for industrial tax exemptions, including an application for property tax breaks by Koch Industries which would have cost (disaster-declared) East Baton Rouge Parish $1.9 million in revenue.
Together Baton Rouge is calling this "one battle in a long fight for transparency and local control. But in terms of that battle, it's a big, big victory!"
This victory follows political pressure by Together Louisiana to make the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) more accountable to the local entities paying for them. Last week, the Shreveport Times reported that the program costs school districts across the state millions of dollars every year, potentially hindering implementation of universal Pre-K. Responding to pressure from Together Louisiana last June, Governor John Bel Edwards changed the program to exclude school taxes from the exemption program, protecting school dollars going forward.
Reigning in Industrial Tax Exemptions, WRKF
Panel Defers Industrial Tax Exemption Request, The Advocate
Louisiana Tax Exemption Debate, BR Proud
Reining In Industrial Tax Exemptions, WRKF
Louisiana State Board Puts Off Vote on Most Industrial Tax Exemption Applications and Renewals, Baton Rouge Business Report
State Board to Take Up Renewal of $11B Worth of Industrial Tax Exemptions Today, Baton Rouge Business Report
TBR Analysis of 22 Renewal Applications, Together Baton Rouge
Paying the Price, Shreveport Times