LABI report says LA no. 1 for new business taxes

February 20, 2019 - 8:18 pm
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(WWL.com)

A report by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry says over the last three years Louisiana has had the largest percentage growth in business taxes in the nation. LABI President Steven Waguespack says the state has been ramping up it’s collection efforts on businesses.

“Over two dozen bills have been passed, just on business alone, raising over three billion dollars out of the economy. That increase, as certified by Ernst and Young, is about 12 and a half percent.”

That 12.5 percent was seen between fiscal year 2016 and 2017.

Waguespack says one of the state’s biggest industries is being impacted by the taxes, many of which have targeted their revenue.

“The manufacturing community is the one feeling the most heat from this approach. Louisiana is one of only two states to tax manufacturing materials, one of only nine states to tax manufacturing equipment.”

The business lobby has raised serious concerns about changes to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, after a Baton Rouge school board recently shot down an Exxon request. Waguespack says the reform is not healthy for business growth.

“The ITEP changes that are creating chaos at the local level, are targeting manufacturing. That is one industry that we need more of, not the one that we should be chasing away. Manufacturing jobs make up about 20 percent of our state’s economy.”

But Governor John Bel Edwards stood by his decision to allow local districts, as opposed to a state board, to determine whether or not they wanted to offer ITEP requests. Edwards says they will not reconsider the decision.

“It’s overly generous, we can continue to land economic development projects, in fact we have had the biggest in the history of our state, come in since I’ve become governor. So, we are not going back there, but we will talk about process.”

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