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ExxonMobil releases stern, ominous statement related to its failed tax break requests

5 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 January 22, 2019 1:37 PM January 22, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – ExxonMobil released a scathing – and perceived scary – comment on its pursuit of certain industrial tax breaks and its future in the region Tuesday afternoon.

In a sternly-worded statement, local refinery experts almost painted a bleak future for their industry locally.

“...The perception of Baton Rouge has become one of inconsistent treatment from one company to another...”

“...Our company must reassess previously-projected costs for these expansion projects. This may include a reduction in investments that grow jobs, expand operations or support community projects.”

And, almost as if they coordinated a release together, the area chamber released a statement moments later.

“ExxonMobil's decision and statement today is a wake-up call. ExxonMobil has been the picture of corporate partnership, and extremely generous in their support of community groups, charities and nonprofits, most significantly to education and education charities,” the Baton Rouge Area Chamber said in a prepared statement.

“What signal will Baton Rouge send now? In the wake of recent announcements of manufacturing layoffs it is painfully obvious that East Baton Rouge must demonstrate that it wants manufacturing investment and jobs. If East Baton Rouge wants additional investments from ExxonMobil or other manufacturers, it must do so resoundingly and quickly.”

Ironically, the chamber didn't comment about the recently announced layoffs of workers at plants or facilities in the Zachary area of East Baton Rouge over the last two weeks when first announced. 

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board refused a tax exemption request by ExxonMobil last week and the Metro Council was to consider one Wednesday.

Also in a statement, Together Baton Rouge, a political advocacy group that spearheaded the denial by the school board applauded the oil company's decision to stop pursuing the tax breaks in question.

"The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board and Metropolitan Council have established clear, predictable standards for what exemptions will be approved, requiring job creation and prohibiting exemptions on projects that already have been completed," Together Baton Rouge said in its statement later Tuesday.

Together Baton Rouge said they would hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the matter.

"ExxonMobil’s proposed expansion of its polyolefins plant meets those standards and was approved for [a tax break, known as ITEP] late last year, with no objection from Together Baton Rouge. Its most recent exemptions on work completed two years ago did not meet those standards..."

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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