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How much does Louisiana lose on big business incentives? Report 2 years overdue

By: - April 18, 2022 1:37 pm
Business incentives illustration

According to the Legislative Auditor, that return on investment (ROI) report hasn’t been filed for a second straight year.

State law requires the Louisiana Department of Revenue to file a report every even numbered year that reviews any taxpayer-supported business incentive that loses $1 million or more. According to the Legislative Auditor, that return on investment (ROI) report hasn’t been filed for a second straight year, nor was an annual tax exemption budget for the governor and Legislature that was due this past March 1. 

The ROI analysis was due to the Legislature on April 1, 2020, and hadn’t been submitted as of Feb, 7, 2022, according to the auditor’s report. Without this information, the governor and lawmakers might not be able to determine the effectiveness of state incentives, the auditor’s report said.

A lack of expertise and necessary technology within the revenue department are reasons why the ROI report for fiscal year 2019 has been late, its leader said. Revenue Secretary Kevin Richard said the state law created in 2018 to require the ROI reports acknowledged more resources would be needed to compile and complete the reports on deadline. He interprets that to mean more personnel, which he said has been difficult to attract and retain through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his response to the audit, Richard said the ROI report and tax exemption budget would be submitted and made public by March 15. The Department of Revenue has posted the ROI report on its website, and a spokesperson for the Legislature said lawmakers were provided copies of the tax exemption budget.

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This story was updated to indicate the Department of Revenue has submitted the ROI report and tax exemption budget since responding to the Legislative Auditor’s report. 

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Greg LaRose
Greg LaRose

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations.

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