Misconceptions about industrial exemptions discussed at Alliance for Positive Growth meeting

Louisiana's industrial growth depends on industrial tax exemptions and incentives, according to...
Louisiana's industrial growth depends on industrial tax exemptions and incentives, according to economic developers and public officials.
Updated: Dec. 20, 2018 at 5:45 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -Local business people and some governmental leaders are concerned about what they consider misinformation about Louisiana property taxes, exemptions and industrial growth. Some went before a local group trying to set the record straight on some issues.

With today’s technology information can spread quickly, which is often good, unless the information is wrong.

A prominent bonding attorney and the Calcasieu parish administrator went before the Alliance for Positive Growth to discuss with business leaders what they consider false information spreading about the handling of taxes and exemptions.

For one thing, says Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam, local government wants property taxes it’s entitled to.

“The idea that your public officials are going to sit back and give away $2 billion is absurd. It ain’t ours to give. We’re looking at the long term. If it didn’t have all these other benefits there is no way, we would recommend it,” Beam said.

As well, both speakers say the suggestion that some companies will come to Louisiana anyway, without incentives is certainly not guaranteed, if not wrong.

“These incentives, if we don’t have them guys, Texas is happy to take them. We don’t have the only pipelines, ship channels, good labor rates and all that. You all know that,” Beam said.

As well, he says the idea that a meeting of staff members for the police jury, school board and CPSO violated the open meetings law is wrong.

“Everything that was decided was in a public open meeting,” said Beam, referring to approval that eventually came from the public bodies themselves.

And Attorney Jay Delafield explained, concerning the meeting of staff members with company officials, that the companies require confidentiality.

“If you think Tellurian, or Cheniere or Cameron LNG or Venture Global is going to go sit down in a public meeting where the press is rolling their camera or their pencils and sit there and negotiate in public with a governmental entity, you don’t have an understanding of how these plants work,” said Delafield.

As well, Delafield points out that recent industry that received 100% industrial tax exemption qualified under old rules

“Driftwood had already qualified under the old rules for the tax exemption, so they were entitled to 100% tax exemption just like Sasol or PPG or Citgo have done for years and years,” said Delafield. He says the Louisiana Department of Economic Development is a good place to begin to understand the rules and how they work.

He says a recent executive order by the governor caps the industrial tax exemption at eighty per cent for new companies who apply now.

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