Louisiana’s Board of Commerce and Industry meets Wednesday, June 24, for the third of six regular meetings it has scheduled for 2020. The 24-member board will be considering tax exemption requests worth millions of dollars annually from various industries across the state.
Some of the industries appearing before the commerce board will be seeking exemptions through Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program, or ITEP. Historically, the state board granted industries exemptions from property taxes and the jurisdictions being stripped of property taxes had to make do with less. However, in 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order granting local jurisdictions the power to reject exemptions granted by the commerce board.
Together Louisiana, a network of congregations and civic organizations, has made ITEP reform a priority. Organizer Broderick Bagert said Monday that some of the groups appearing before the commerce board Wednesday will be seeking renewals of exemptions granted before Edwards’ executive order. Thus, for those items, the board’s vote will be final. Parishes, municipalities, school boards that have been getting fewer taxes because of exemptions granted five years ago will be powerless to object if the board votes to renew those exemptions.
Bagert said the board Wednesday will be considering property-tax exemptions worth $1.6B over 10 years.
The Board of Commerce and Industry stopped receiving public comments for the exemption requests Monday afternoon, but the public is allowed to attend the 9:30 a.m. meeting in person in the LaBelle Room of the LaSalle Building at 617 North 3rd St. in Baton Rouge.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the audience will be limited to 50 people, and everyone in attendance must wear masks, submit to a body temperature check and practice social distancing.