More than half the manufacturers that asked the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry today to renew their industrial tax exemption for a second, five-year period actually cut more jobs than they created during the previous five years, according to data presented to the board by the nonprofit group Together Louisiana.
What’s more, only three out of the 22 companies seeking a renewal of the state’s generous incentive program fulfilled the job creation claim they had made to the state when they applied for the exemption.
“Whether a company creates the number of jobs they said they would has to be a criteria for whether you give a company a renewal,” Broderick Bagert, director of Together Louisiana and its affiliate organization Together Baton Rouge, told the board at its meeting today. “Otherwise, they are gaming the state.”
Actually, job creation was not specifically a requirement of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, or ITEP, when the companies currently seeking renewal originally applied for the incentive in 2011. But earlier this year, in an effort to crack down on the billions in tax breaks the program is giving to big industry, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order tying ITEP to new job creation. The order also gives local governments a greater say in whether to grant the exemptions to companies located in their districts.