Posts filed under Republicans

LAGOP: How Not To Govern Louisiana- The Sad Tale of ITEP Under the John Bel Edwards’ Administration

Photo source: KNOE

Photo source: KNOE

We were very pleased to learn last week that the Exxon/Mobil polyolefin plant expansion project worth about $500M had received what is called an “ITEP” exemption from local property taxes, and that the project would proceed. There had been serious concern about the ultimate approval of what heretofore would have been a routine, no-brainer project for the betterment of our state and our workers. But the sad tale of what has recently happened to this highly successful industry and jobs incentive program under the John Bel Edwards’ administration bodes ill for future industrial development in Louisiana.

The tale begins over eighty years ago and ends at the present day as an expose on John Bel Edwards’ poor leadership and the dangers posed by Louisiana Democrats’ adoption of progressive-socialist ideology. Here’s why every worker and his or her family members should shudder whenever any local governing agency with taxing authority decides to cast a bureaucratic eye at an employer’s application for local tax relief via an ITEP exemption:

It is the early 1930’s and Huey Long’s populist “share-the-wealth” agenda is well underway in Louisiana. Gov. Long’s constant rants against the major oil companies during the worst depression in American history have rewarded him with almost total political power within the state. He uses this power to slash personal and utility tax rates and effectively eliminates personal property taxes for most citizens (read ‘voters’ in Huey’s lexicon) by instituting the homestead exemption, while greatly increasing taxes and fees on industry to make up for the ensuing deficits.

An assassin’s bullet ends Huey Long’s life in 1935, but the damage has been done and the political culture of Louisiana remains populist and hostile to industry for many years afterward. The Great Depression lingers on and by the late 1930’s the political heirs of the Long era have begun to realize that industry now needs an incentive to move to Louisiana.

Enter the Industrial Property Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), first passed in 1936 as a major incentive to draw larger industrial projects to Louisiana to offset the otherwise uncompetitive tax system created by Huey Long. Up until 2016, the ITEP statute gives power to the State Board of Commerce & Industry to grant local property tax exemptions of up to 100% for up to ten years for plant and manufacturing investments. The program is highly successful in attracting new business and encouraging existing business to expand or retain their operations in Louisiana.

Now it is true that critics have attacked ITEP because the state granted the local tax exemptions without local government approval, but recall that ITEP was intended to reduce employers’ overall cost of doing business in Louisiana in order to offset the many disadvantages of doing business here- the high taxes and fees, state and local government hostility to business and the resulting awful legal climate, the high crime rates and the poor public services and schools, etc. ITEP was and is an attempt to compensate for these factors by leveling the playing field for any employer building or expanding in Louisiana, and it has succeeded in doing just what it was intended to do.

Contrary to what opponents have claimed, ITEP never gives state or local money to industry; rather, it simply defers local property taxes. What it does do is stimulate investment and create thousands of jobs which generate additional sales, income and other taxes from the moment construction begins on the approved projects, many of which would not otherwise be located in Louisiana.

But it is now 2016 and the state has a new governor, a trial lawyer with little business experience and member of a Democrat Party increasingly controlled by vocal socialist-progressives. John Bel Edwards is under strong pressure from Together Louisiana and other far-left organizations to sign an executive order giving partial control of ITEP exemptions to various local taxing authorities, from parish councils and police juries all the way down to local school boards.

Under the new ITEP rules, these local governments must pass resolutions in support of the proposed projects before the ITEP local property tax exemption can be finally approved by the State Board of Commerce & Industry. Unfortunately, many of the officials on these councils and boards are left-wing political ideologues who also have little or no business experience and don’t comprehend the reasoning behind the creation of ITEP in the first place.

Together Louisiana begins agitating against the granting of ITEP applications unless absurd job and wage guarantees are included in the application which more than nullify the tax benefits, and soon finds a willing accomplice in the East Baton Rouge School Board. The EBR School Board promptly balks at granting a proposed ITEP tax exemption filed by Exxon/Mobil, which happens to be the largest employer in the Baton Rouge metro area.

To understand the dangerous absurdity of what recently happened to Exxon/Mobil this past January, you must also know that this particular project had already been completed and Exxon/Mobil had been assured that it would be grandfathered in under the pre-2016 ITEP rules. This obviously did not happen after Together Louisiana reared its leftist head. Although the larger mega-project just received approval this last week, it is important to note that that project’s request for a tax exemption had been grandfathered in under the pre-2016 rules.

Future projects seeking ITEP approval can no longer be grandfathered in under the pre-2016 rules, of course, and local property tax abatement as a reward for locating or expanding industry in Louisiana has just become a political football on the most uneven playing field in America, our own dear Louisiana. Thanks to Gov. Edwards, the ITEP tax exemption program has become hostage to Together Louisiana and the far left elected officials who so love to grandstand with their anti-corporate vitriol, as industry executives throughout the nation and beyond have no doubt noted by now.

Louisiana needs all the help it can get to attract or even retain the industry it has, as our very poor comparative growth rate and loss of population attest. Over the last three years of the John Bel Edwards’ administration, vast swathes of the state have deteriorated significantly and the quality of life of our citizenry has fallen ever further behind that of our prospering neighbors.

Tinkering with one of the state’s most successful industry attraction programs in order to placate Louisiana Democrats was a political mistake of the worst sort for the worst of reasons. As it now stands, as older projects in Louisiana are completed, fewer and fewer new ones have been scheduled to replace them. The uncertain status of ITEP is a major reason why, and all Louisianians will suffer as a result.

This mess was predictable and preventable, but apparently not by a governor beholden to the Louisiana Democrat Party. Perhaps our Republican delegation in the legislature can reverse the damage to the ITEP program in the 2019 legislative session, but better still to have a new, REPUBLICAN Governor on January 13, 2020!

Louis Gurvich, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana

RGA: John Bel Edwards: Great for Texas, Bad for Louisiana

The Republican Governor’s Association has put out a YouTube video highlighting the stellar performance (pun intended), of our own Cajun Obama, “Honor Code” John Bel Edwards. The video highlights the state of the economy and business climate here in the Pelican State.

Posted on February 22, 2019 and filed under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana, Republicans.

Republican Party of Louisiana Files Public Records Request Regarding Governor John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Statewide Business Summit

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Monday, February 18, 2019

(Baton Rouge, LA): Today the Republican Party of Louisiana submitted a public records request for any and all correspondence related to Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Statewide Business Summit to discern whether the governor is using it as a taxpayer-funded campaign event to bolster his re-election efforts. A copy of the request can be found here.

This request comes as Governor Edwards has faced a slew of bad headlines in recent weeks regarding his lackluster performance on the economy leading up to his announcement of the summit. This, along with the fact that many of the event’s speakers are either donors or employees of Edwards, raises questions of whether he is using his summit as a publicly-funded campaign event.

“On the heels of one negative story after another highlighting the poor state of Louisiana’s economy under the leadership of Governor Edwards, the Governor appears to have organized this summit for the benefit of his re-election efforts on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Chairman Louis Gurvich. “Our elected leaders should not be using taxpayer funds to further their personal political objectives. The timing and choice of speakers at this summit raises serious questions for Governor Edwards, and the people of Louisiana deserve answers.”

A Brief Timeline of Negative News Stories:

January 28 – “In a November 2015 debate, both Edwards and his Republican runoff challenger, then-U.S. Sen. David Vitter, said they wouldn’t raise tax rates on businesses or individuals. They talked of very similar plans to make government more efficient, remove protections that keep some areas of the budget off-limits to cuts and scale back tax break programs. Tax rates under Edwards, however, were raised.” (AP: In re-election bid, Edwards to face tax scrutiny)

January 30 – Louisiana ranked the worst state in the country for where to find a job. (Zippia: THESE ARE THE 10 BEST STATES IN AMERICA FOR JOBS)

January 30 – “Until then we live with Gov. Edwards’ ‘Texas Plan’ that was evident in a post by Baton Rouge ex-pat Branon Pesnell, who now does real estate in Houston: ‘I am one of the 55,000 who moved out of the state (2016-2018) partly because of this type of short-sighted thinking. Decisions like this will have long-term impact on the Louisiana’s ability to recruit and keep business. The door is open in Texas, come on in!’” (Greater Baton Rouge Business Journal: Publisher: Governor’s ITEP change helps Texas)

February 4 – “Stephen Waguespack, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, said Monday at the Press Club of Baton Rouge [ITEP] is ‘broken’…” (Advocate: LABI, Louisiana's largest business lobby, wants changes for ITEP tax)

February 4 – “But Edwards isn’t interested in changing the rules, saying Louisiana remains competitive in business development.” (AP: Louisiana leaders divided on industrial tax break)

February 9 – “Even when watered down by a Republican-led Legislature, his policies over the past three years have produced tax hikes and 40 percent higher state spending. Louisiana has one of the worst economies in the country with almost no net new jobs created.” (Advocate: Jeff Sadow: Look behind the spin put on Gov. Edward's polling numbers)

February 13 – John Bel Edwards announces Louisiana Statewide Business Summit (Advocate:Louisiana Statewide Business Summit to highlight economic development success stories

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LAGOP: Louisiana Republicans join together to support Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin

Photo source: LAGOP

Photo source: LAGOP

11/13/2018

Today, Louisiana Republican officials across the state joined together to express support for Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin in his runoff election scheduled for December 8, 2018. Members of the executive branch of Louisiana, and the Republican members of the Congressional delegation, announced their endorsements of Secretary Ardoin for the December 8 runoff.

“It is vital that we keep a conservative Republican as our Louisiana Secretary of State. We cannot afford a liberal progressive in that office who would weaken our voter ID laws and undermine the integrity of our elections,” Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Louis Gurvich said. “It's critical that all Louisiana Republicans show up to support and vote for Secretary of State Ardoin on December 8. No one should take this election for granted!”

“Look at what’s happening in Florida and Georgia, where the incompetence of local election officials is casting serious doubt on the results of the elections in those states. This cannot be allowed to happen in Louisiana. I will continue to ensure the security of our elections, and fight the radicals who wish to change our election laws,” declared Secretary of State Ardoin.

Secretary Ardoin placed first in the November primary. Early voting for the runoff election takes place November 24-December 1, and Election Day is December 8.

The list of Republican officials who have endorsed Secretary Ardoin are as follows:

Republican Party of Louisiana
Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D.
Senator John Kennedy
Congressman Steve Scalise
Congressman Ralph Abraham
Congressman Clay Higgins
Congressman Mike Johnson
Attorney General Jeff Landry
Treasurer John Schroder
Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain
Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon

Posted on November 13, 2018 and filed under LAGOP, Louisiana, Republicans.

Administration Easing Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling Rules

Photo source: Rigzone

Photo source: Rigzone

A 48-page notice from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement published Friday in the Federal Register says the agency “has become aware that certain provisions in that rulemaking created potentially unduly burdensome requirements for oil and natural gas production operators … without meaningfully increasing safety of the workers or protection of the environment.”

An offshore drilling industry group said it’s a positive step.

Read more:  Administration easing offshore oil and gas drilling rules

Posted on September 29, 2018 and filed under Donald Trump, Oil and Gas, Republicans.

The LAGOP Endorses Clay Higgins for Congress

Photo source: Facebook 

Photo source: Facebook 

The LAGOP Endorses Clay Higgins for CongressThe Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Louisiana, Friday, announced its official endorsement of Clay Higgins for Louisiana's third congressional district.

“No one is more conservative and more reflective of the citizens that live in the third congressional district than Congressman Clay Higgins,” Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Louis Gurvich said. “President Donald Trump, the Executive Committee of the LAGOP, and I encourage all conservatives in the third congressional district to vote for Clay Higgins in the upcoming midterm election.”

Clay Higgins is a true 'Cajun conservative,' he believes in a strong national defense, and he's working around the clock to make sure that our borders are impenetrable. He also has a no-nonsense attitude towards government waste and unconstitutional federal overreach.

Rep. Higgins is still just as much of the Acadian he was back when he started his first term. Rep. Higgins makes it very clear to anyone he speaks with that he does not take part in the toxic D.C. culture. "I don't live in D.C.," he often proclaims, "I may from time to time sleep in D.C., but I live in Acadiana."

One of Rep. Higgins core beliefs is that he was sent to D.C. to represent his constituents and not special interest lobbyists. Constituents of the third congressional district should feel confident that Rep. Higgins will be one of the few in Congress who are fighting to drain the swamp in D.C. once and for all.

In 1979 Clay Higgins enlisted into the Louisiana National Guard where he reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. Later in life, he became an officer of the law in St. Landry Parish, which is where he became known as 'America's toughest cop, Captain Clay Higgins.' He is a man of service, no doubt about it.

Rep. Higgins' voting record is one of a reliable conservative, he voted to repeal Obamacare, voted for president Trump's tax cuts, and has been a faithful defender of our constitution. So we are encouraging you to join us this midterm election and re-elect Clay Higgins to represent Louisiana's third congressional district.

Posted on June 25, 2018 and filed under Republicans, Louisiana, Clay Higgins.

Open Letter to Governor John Bel Edwards - Hand Delivered to Governor Edwards on Thursday, June 7, 2018

Third Special Session starts June 18th

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Louisiana House Republicans

Sponsored ⋅ Paid for by Louisiana House Republican Delegation ·

Governor Edwards,

On behalf of the Republican Delegation of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the millions of Louisiana residents we represent, we ask that you put careful consideration into the scope and inclusions of your call for our third extraordinary session of 2018 to include structural budgetary reform and cost savings measures in lieu of taxes alone.

While it is your right as the chief executive of the state to set the agenda for any special legislative session that you call, we ask that you consider the results of the two previous special sessions and know that our constituents continue to resoundingly tell us that state government should live within its means.

We agree in the necessity of funding our essential priorities. We also believe that it is necessary to enact transparent budgeting and spending policies and reduce the size of state government.

We sincerely hope that you will consider supporting and including the following bipartisan solutions in your call. To ask for taxes without reform could very well yield a similar result to previous attempts at the same.

- Sign SB13 (Ward) - The Louisiana Checkbook.

- Reconsider HB12 & HB15 from the first special session of 2018 (Barras) - Provides for changes in the expenditure limit calculation.

- Give the legislative auditor the authority to audit the records of any state agency for the purpose of auditing programs that expend taxpayer funds and ensuring legal compliance.

Before we enact yet another tax, it is imperative that the taxpayers see that you are willing to allow the legislature the ability to identify areas of waste, fraud, and abuse in addition to allowing for a transparent and savings-minded approach to government spending.

We remain committed to the principles our constituents sent us to Baton Rouge to stand for. We also believe our constituents expect us to work for solutions that ensure Louisiana government funds its critical priorities, as demonstrated by our continued efforts to meet you more than half-way. We remain committed to working in good faith for the betterment of Louisiana.

It’s Amazing What Happens When the Economy is Unshackled from Democrats

Photo source: Rigzone

Photo source: Rigzone

Jerry Morales, the mayor of Midland, Texas, and a local restaurateur, is being whipsawed by the latest Permian Basin shale-oil boom.

It’s fueling the region and starving it at the same time. Sales-tax revenue is hitting a record high, allowing the city to get around to fixing busted roads. But the crazy-low 2.1 percent unemployment rate is a bear. As the proprietor of Mulberry Cafe and Gerardo’s Casita, Morales is working hard to retain cooks. As a Republican first elected in 2014, he oversees a government payroll 200 employees short of what it needs to fully function.

“This economy is on fire,” he said from a back table at the cafe the other day, watching as the lunchtime crowd lined up for the Asian Zing Salad and Big Mo’s Toaster hamburger

Read more:  Shale Country Dangles 100% Pay Raises as Labor Market Runs Dry

Gonsoulin Announces Candidacy for Louisiana House Seat

Photo source: YouTube 

Photo source: YouTube 

Ricky Gonsoulin, New Iberia resident and Iberia Parish Councilman, has announced via YouTube his intentions to seek the Louisiana House Seat in District 48. The seat is currently being held by Speaker of the House, Taylor Barras, who is term limited. 

AFP-Louisiana Releases Statement on Conclusion of Special Session

Group commends lawmakers on principled stand against tax increases

Photo source: AFP Twitter

Photo source: AFP Twitter

BATON ROUGE, La. - Americans for Prosperity-Louisiana (AFP-LA) State Director John Kay released the following statement Monday night after legislators adjourned from special session:

"We applaud House members for taking a principled stand against tax increases. Having no tax increases advance is a win for Louisianans.

"This should be a clear message to the governor that another legislative session that wastes taxpayer money is not welcomed. They should refuse to adjourn another session and force government to live within it's means."

Posted on June 5, 2018 and filed under Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, Republicans.