ExxonMobil picked Baton Rouge but ITEP debate isn’t over

The ExxonMobil facility in Baton Rouge

The local business community, fearful of the fallout from the ongoing controversy over the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, breathed a sigh of relief in early March when ExxonMobil announced Baton Rouge as the site of a major expansion project worth more than $500 million.

ITEP critics rejoiced as well, declaring this a tax-break worthy project that proves the state’s overhauled tax incentive program won’t chase industry away.

But that rare moment of mutual celebration didn’t last, according to a story in the latest edition of Baton Rouge Business Report. Industry leaders wasted no time assuring the community the ITEP debate is far from over.

While praising ExxonMobil’s decision, industry groups called attention to the long and difficult process it took to land the project, criticizing the ITEP issues that threatened to torpedo it. In the same breath, they reiterated calls to reform the program, upended in 2016 when Gov. John Bel Edwards turned power over to local governments.

In other words, yes, the ExxonMobil expansion—which has already received ITEP approval—is a win. But don’t think for second that ITEP battles are a thing of the past.

Business Report has the full story. (Subscription may be required.)