Louisiana ends helicopter facility deal, wants money repaid
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana has ended its economic development deal with Bell Helicopter and is trying to recover millions of dollars in subsidies after the company failed to create the jobs promised.
Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson announced late Tuesday he made the decision after "four years of underperformance by the company." The deal with Bell Helicopter was highly touted when announced by former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration in 2013.
Louisiana spent $26 million to build a facility for Bell to assemble helicopters in Lafayette and create 115 new jobs. Pierson says Bell employs 22 people at the site today, not even meeting renegotiated, lower job benchmarks.
The company disagreed Wednesday that it violated its Louisiana deal. Bell says with incentives discontinued by the state, it has started closure of its Lafayette facility.