BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson will meet with government and business leaders throughout much of Louisiana next week to discuss changes in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order in June that adds local government input and a provision for job creation or retention in the tax exemption program. ITEP allows manufacturers in Louisiana to secure up to a 100 percent exemption of local property taxes on eligible new building and equipment expenditures for up to 10 years.
Secretary Pierson will visit Monroe and Shreveport on Monday and Alexandria and Lake Charles on Tuesday. The meetings are being organized by regional economic development organizations, with parish and municipal elected officials invited to hear a presentation from the LED secretary and ask questions about the impact of program changes for their respective jurisdictions.
“We want to give local governments a seat at the table in determining their own tax situation, and we want to recognize job creation as a factor in determining the scope of any incentive under the Industrial Tax Exemption Program,” Pierson said. “Gov. Edwards has simply required that local communities have a voice in the process, since their resources will be required to support projects receiving ITEP. This is the right thing to do, and it’s the best thing for our state.”
The exemption is a waiver of potential local property tax on new capital improvements made by manufacturers; no public money is paid to a company taking part in the program. The exemption is for a term of five years, with an option to renew for five additional years. After the contract expires, all properties are fully taxed. The program has existed in some form in Louisiana since the 19th century and has been largely unchanged since the Louisiana Constitution of 1974.
The new provisions call for LED to engage local governing boards of parish and municipalities where manufacturing projects are proposed, and local leadership will advise the state on the percentage of tax exemption it considers acceptable. The economic return of the project – that is, jobs as well as capital investment – will be considered by the local government before making its recommendation. All project investors interested in participating in ITEP will be required to file an Advance Notification report indicating the level of job creation and capital investment associated with the project.
ITEP remains an important incentive for encouraging Louisiana companies to modernize their plant operations with new capital investments. Louisiana has 140,000 manufacturing jobs, and the ITEP process is designed to help companies be more competitive in their respective markets and to better secure the future of their operations and employment in the state.
The meeting schedule is as follows:
Monday, Aug. 29
- 10:30 a.m., Louisiana Delta Community College, 7500 Millhaven Road, Monroe; coordinated by Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance.
- 2:30 p.m., Louisiana Tech University Shreveport Center, 8028 Shreve Park Drive, Shreveport; coordinated by North Louisiana Economic Partnership.
Tuesday, Aug. 30
- 10:30 a.m., Hearn Stage at the Kress Theatre, 1102 Third St., Alexandria; coordinated by Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.
- 2:30 p.m., SEED Center, 4310 Ryan St., Lake Charles; coordinated by Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.