Saturday, December 15, 2018

Give us our moneeeys

Helena Moreno:
The voices are growing louder, as is the frustration, on a recurring theme that the City of New Orleans isn’t getting its fair share of tax dollars or losing out completely. Based on our significant infrastructure and public safety needs, I’m glad to see this grassroots push for fairness, which includes support to rein in one of the most irresponsible giveaways in Louisiana; the Industrial Tax Incentive Program. Since 1998, ITEP has cost the City of New Orleans and Orleans Parish School Board more than $210 million in lost property tax revenue, due to exemptions rubber-stamped by a state board. Yes, a state board can exempt local property taxes. In fact, the state Board of Commerce and Industry has a 99.95 percent approval rate for companies who seek the local property tax exemption. In 2017, this led to a $1.9 billion loss to local taxing bodies across Louisiana.
Moreno has an ordinance in front of the council now that will tighten restrictions on how ITEP is handed out locally. This is a positive development, of course. But even as we seem to be moving in a better direction, it's worth pointing out that state officials are still handing out very large gifts via this instrument.
The developer of a liquefied natural gas export facility in southwest Louisiana won approval for a controversial tax break that could reach more than $2 billion over 10 years, potentially the largest exemption awarded in the state’s history.

The Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry voted in favor of the exemption for Driftwood LNG LLC, a subsidiary of Tellurian Inc., on Friday. A spokesman for Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will sign off on it.
Also, at the local level, despite some progress, such as this decision by the Orleans Parish School Board to deny an exemption to Bollinger, other local entities continue to take the exact opposite tack. This week, the Jefferson Parish School Board approved an ITEP exemption for Bollinger.   Win some, lose some I guess.  But Moreno is right to keep pressing this.

No comments: