Parish officials discuss having input in state’s business tax incentive program

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ sweeping changes to a lucrative property tax benefit program for manufacturing facilities in the state have made their way to St. Charles Parish.

Corey Faucheux, the parish’s director of Economic Development and Tourism, said the state’s oldest incentives program – the Industrial Tax Exemption Program or ITEP – now requires local input in the applications.

This is a major change from when they were all decided in Baton Rouge, Faucheux said.

Local governments (parish governing boards, municipal governing boards, school boards) will sign off on the level of local tax exemption that is acceptable to their governing boards for ITEP projects in their jurisdictions.

For the parish, Faucheux identified the approving entities as the council, Sheriff’s Office and St. Charles Parish School System.

“Most important, it’s our chance to show St. Charles Parish’s pro-business climate fostered in the parish,” he told the council.

Faucheux said they have started to see business applications come under these new rules.

Councilwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier described the changes “as a little clumsy and more political,” adding, “It’s going to get a little sticky.”

Faucheux said he’s been meeting with Parish President Larry Cochran, Schools Superintendent Felecia Gomez-Walker and Sheriff Greg Champagne to establish a process promoting reaching a consensus because approval is required from

The program serves as an incentive for manufacturers to invest in capital projects in Louisiana. It allows manufacturers to secure a 100 percent exemption of local property taxes on eligible new building and equipment expenditures for up to 10 years.

All ITEP contracts must be accompanied by a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement that outlines a job creation or job retention component, as well as terms by which the manufacturing investor must abide – to retain the property tax exemption for the initial 5-year period and a potential second 5-year renewal period, according to LED.

ITEP applicants previously had to apply for renewal after the first five years.

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