School board approves Exxon tax break, pushing company closer to huge BR refinery project
BATON ROUGE – ExxonMobil’s quest for a tax break tied to a possible modernization of its local refinery was not sidelined by the EBR school board Thursday.
The board approved the tax break – known as ITEP.
In January, the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry backed the tax break. The EBR Metro Council will have to decide on the tax break next. The sheriff already approved it.
Exxon wants the tax breaks to compete for a quarter-of-a-billion dollar project to upgrade the refinery and make the facility more viable for the current business climate.
The refinery is asking for a ten-year break worth about $23 million. It has warned, without the tax break, modernizing the Baton Rouge refinery, among the world’s largest, would be unlikely.
The governor and EBR Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome support the tax break.
"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 after the state board backed the proposal in January.
The Business Report posted Thursday, Together Baton Rouge, which has previously fought similar tax break measures, was not planning to oppose the request at the school board meeting Thursday evening.
Exxon has said the project to upgrade its facility here would retain the 1,300 existing Baton Rouge refinery jobs, create 600 construction jobs at the refinery over a three year period and create 20 full-time jobs. The 20 jobs would come from the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative, a program Exxon helped create in 2012.
A final decision on the project is expected this year.
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