Baton Rouge energy giant ExxonMobil is a step closer to a big expansion
BATON ROUGE - Tax breaks for upgrades at ExxonMobil's Baton Rouge refinery cleared a major hurdle Friday.
The State Board of Commerce and Industry signed off on a tax break which Exxon says is needed for the quarter-billion-dollar project.
Exxon wants to bring its plant up to 2021 standards, making it competitive globally.
"This project helps us to retain the hundreds of jobs in Baton Rouge. When we retain jobs for the hundreds of direct employees that work at our refinery, that means we're always hiring," Gloria Moncada, refinery manager for ExxonMobil Baton Rouge said.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome spoke in favor of the project.
She says the exemptions will bring opportunity and prosperity.
"These types of investments are vital to increasing our economic competitiveness in Baton Rouge. This project will certainly be part of a foundation laid to make Baton Rouge competitive for future investments," Broome said.
But the project doesn't go without opposition.
An organization named Together Louisiana stepped into the ring to challenge the industrial tax exemptions.
"It's not a new unit. It's a modernization. It looks a lot like something that happens as the ordinary cost of business, and that shouldn't be incentivized," its lead organizer, Broderick Bagert said.
Moncada later debunked Bagert's argument.
She says the investment is not routine spend, but necessary to move forward.
"This is not our routine spend, this is a mega-investment in our facility. The impact and ripple effect on jobs and the economic benefit is significant," said Moncada.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro-Council, the Sheriff's Office, and School Board are expected to vote on the tax break request in the coming weeks.
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