Jeff Davis School Board approves tax exemption for Bayou Rum

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 9:31 PM CDT
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Jennings, LA (KPLC) - A tax break for a major economic manufacturer in Jeff Davis Parish was approved at Thursday’s school board meeting.

The Louisiana Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) is an incentive for manufacturers who commit to bringing in jobs and payroll in the state.

It’s what Bayou Rum’s parent company, Louisiana Spirits, is requesting from parish officials.

“They would only pay 20% of the property taxes as it’s valued at the time of the ITEP for a period of five years, so they would not have to pay 80% of it,” school board President Paul Trahan said.

The company has the option to renew for an additional five years once the original term is up.

Louisiana Spirits has three active exemptions. Two of those will expire at the end of 2024.

This request comes as the company plans for a nearly $10-million expansion. The exemption will help offset costs associated with the expansion.

Creed Romano with Jeff Davis Economic Development spoke on behalf of the company.

“People keep saying to me, ‘Creed, we’re losing,’” Romano said. “We’re not losing, we’re gaining. We have a beautiful facility that wants to expand. It’s going to attract more industry to this parish.”

Though the parish may lose property tax money, Romano explains the parish will gain it back in sales tax from building materials and equipment.

The company currently has 37 employees and will add three more positions for the expansion.

Romano’s report said the company paid $66,064.29 in property taxes in 2022 and $50,691.88 in sales, use and retail taxes.

The report also said the total anticipated tax collection on current and proposed facilities beginning in 2025 is $210,540.68.

The school board voted six in favor and four against, ultimately granting the exemption. The sheriff’s office and police jury both voted in favor of the exemption. The proposal will now go before the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry.

The project is expected to be completed in 2025.