Petition to Governor, Calcasieu School Board, Police Jury & Sheriff

Current signatories can be viewed here.

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, CALL UPON GOVERNOR JOHN BEL EDWARDS AND THE STATE BOARD OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY TO:
• Defer approval of the Driftwood LNG industrial tax exemption request until notice and hearings have been provided that accord with public meeting laws and the rules of the Board of Commerce and Industry.

WE CALL UPON THE CALCASIEU PARISH SCHOOL BOARD, POLICE JURY & SHERIFF TO:
• Rescind resolutions supporting the Driftwood LNG exemption, until public hearings that accord with public meeting laws have been held.
• Hold at least one public hearing per taxing body on the Driftwood LNG exemption before re-considering the measure.
• Disband the "ITEP Tax Authority Group" or adopt procedures for its operations that do not violate public meeting law.
• Restrict industrial tax exemptions to truly competitive projects and cap ALL ITEP applications at a maximum of 80%.

In November 2018, with almost no public notice or discussion, the Calcasieu Parish School Board, Police Jury & Sheriff voted to allow Driftwood LNG to keep 100% of its $15.9 billion in property off the tax rolls for the next 10 years. If that property were allowed to go onto the rolls in the normal fashion, property tax rates for Calcasieu parish residents and businesses would drop from 108.2 mills to 51.2 mills, still producing the same amount of revenue ($232M per year).
Before voting on what appears to be the largest local taxpayer subsidy for a corporation in American history, Calcasieu officials:
  • DID NOT CONDUCT an independent cost-benefit analysis of the project.
  • DID NOT EVALUATE whether the exemption was needed to land the project. (Driftwood LNG already has committed to develop and is not considering any alternative locations for its project.)
  • DID NOT CONSIDER an exemption of 30% or 50% or 75% or 90%, instead giving a 100% exemption, even though exemptions statewide are now capped at 80% for industrial tax exemptions.
  • DID NOT ALLOW the taxpayers who will be paying for the exemptions to see the details of the project or provide feedback on whether they supported it.
  • DID NOT EVEN FIND OUT how much the exemption would cost.
KEY DOCUMENTS
The Driftwood LNG application for an ITEP, which lists the public subsidy by Calcasieu Parish taxpayers at $284 million PER YEAR. (This document was not available to the public prior to the vote and even our elected officials did not see it.)
Procedures of the Calcasieu Parish Local Taxing Authorities ITEP committee, a body of public authorities which bars public participation and meets in closed session with industry representatives to develop recommendations for ITEP.
1,141 SIGNATURES
1,000 signatures

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