COMMUNITY LEADERS REJECT "BLANK CHECK" ON CORPORATE EXEMPTIONS FROM SCHOOL TAXES

August 31st, 2017

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BACKGROUND MATERIAL

Read analysis of ITEP in Rapides Parish: "Giving Away the Farm" (August 2017)

Download one-page ITEP profile on Rapides Parish

Search industrial tax exemptions for any company statewide, including in Rapides Parish

View proposed Rapides Parish School Board "blank check" resolution

 

PRESS RELEASE

Alexandria, La. - On Friday, September 1st, at 11am, at 1402 Reed Avenue in Alexandria, faith, school and community leaders with Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith and Together Louisiana will gather to reject a proposal being put before the parish public school board to offer a blank check to industry on exemptions from school taxes.

The board's proposed resolution would establish automatic, unconditional prior approval for any requests by industry for exemptions from school property taxes, "both present and future." It reads:

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Industrial tax exemptions already are costing Rapides Parish schools $9.5 million in lost revenue in 2017 and cost the district $320 million in lost school revenue cumulatively since 1998.

The "blank check" resolution and a competing proposal will be decided at a meeting of the Rapides Parish School Board on Tuesday, September 5th, at 5pm.

"It is honestly shocking that any school board would even consider something so carte blanche and irresponsible," said Rev. Joseph Awotwi, a leader with Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith and the pastor of Newman United Methodist Church. "We're calling on the school board to reject the proposal out of hand and start subjecting these corporate exemptions to serious scrutiny."

Industrial tax exemptions will be decided by local school boards for the first time this year, instead of by the state Board of Commerce and Industry, due to an Executive Order signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in 2016.

Another school board member, Sandra Franklin, has put forward a competing resolution, which establishes minimum standards for job creation and accountability for companies to be eligible for tax exemptions.

For more information, contact 225-803-5876

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