The war of words over how Baton Rouge should handle Industrial Tax Exemption Program requests continues to rage. Nearly three dozen speakers with very different perspectives on ITEP weighed in this morning on how East Baton Rouge Parish should structure its criteria for granting property tax abatements to manufacturers.
At a meeting of the East Baton Rouge Parish committee charged with devising guidelines local taxing authorities will follow when evaluating ITEP applications, representatives from big business and industry, including ExxonMobil, Turner Industries and ISC Constructors, called for a system that will be transparent, fair and generous to manufacturers.
ISC Constructors Vice president Kyle Zeringue argued companies should be eligible for the lucrative exemption not only when they’re expanding their local facilities but when they’re investing in upgrades and, even, routine maintenance.
“It is just as important to support upgrades and modernizations to maintain a competitive advantage (with other states),” Zeringue says. “It is very shortsighted to think companies have to come here because of the Mississippi River or that they have to stay here because they are already here.”