La. Board of Commerce and Industry: Simien out, Moss in

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The way the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry does business is changing — and so has its board makeup. A mutual agreement on parting ways is how Lake Area attorney Marshall Simien Jr. described no longer being on the board.

“They kindly asked me not to serve any longer after two-and-a-half years,” said the former Gov. John Bel Edwards appointee. He did not receive a specific reason for the request. “Waters and wind change, directions change. I want to be able to feel good about the service I did.”

He has announced his candidacy for Mayor of Lake Charles. Simien ran in 2017.

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Southwest Louisiana will continue to have representation on the board. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser appointed Sulphur businessman Stuart Moss to the board earlier this month. A native of Sulphur and graduate of McKinley College, Moss has served as a Louisiana State Representative for District 33 and Sulphur City Councilman. Moss served on the board as an appointee of Edwards.

The Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry is made up of 24 members who meet bi-monthly to consider applications from business entities seeking approval for tax incentives such as the Enterprise Zone, Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), Quality Jobs, and Restoration Tax Abatement.

Gov. Jeff Landry signed an executive order that will change the standards for ITEP job requirements. Landry has also changed the way local governments affected by a tax exemption project provide application input. Landry’s new arrangement — a single parish industrial board — will also shorten the timeline for local input. This local committee would be made up of the parish or police jury president, president or superintendent of the school board, sheriff, mayor (if located in a municipality) and the local committee may also include non-voting committee members from the local assessor’s office and local economic development representation.

Board-approved ITEP applications would be forwarded to the local committee within three business days. When local input differs from the board’s decision, the governor will have the final say.

“I think he (Gov. Landry) has injected himself into not only this board but other boards because he wants to see what’s best for this state,” Moss said.

Moss said that many times the board did not have responses from some of the entities or applications merely deferred to the board’s decisions.

“That’s not just in Louisiana but across the state. At least we’ll have some input.”

The American Press reached out to the board chair to find out when and how Simien’s vacancy would be filled but did not receive a response.