Industrial Tax Exemptions focus of meeting

Local citizens gathered Tuesday at the Central Library for “A Citizen’s Guide to ITEP (Industrial Tax Exemption Program) in Calcasieu.” The discussion was led by Broderick Bagert, founder of Together Louisiana, a grass roots social justice organization.

“Mostly, what I do is work with citizens to help them with how to organize — which is something they know because organizing is life.” Bagert said. Spurring true change, he said, requires deliberate actions that “translate into being able to effect decision making on a large scale.”

A diverse group of citizens were present for the meeting, including students, underemployed graduates, business owners and retirees — all with a unified desire to seek answers regarding the region’s economy and the varied effects of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.

“I watched an area that was beautifully in the marsh, quiet and serene turn into nothing but traffic,” a retired pipefitter said.

“It’s disheartening to no be receiving tax incentives as a business person because I don’t qualify for whatever the case may be,” a local business owner expressed.

“We are a state that loves to shame the poor,” a McNeese State University student said. With a median household average of $43,000 in Calcasieu parish, she said, “We’re literally handing billions of dollars in corporate welfare that could help lift these individuals out of poverty… In my opinion, we don’t have a economic problem. We have a moral problem.”

“I could not find a job in my field despite the fact that there were countless jobs that were hiring for those positions,” a McNeese State University engineering graduate said.

Throughout the course of the evening Bagert gave a brief history and overview of the program ultimately stating that citizen involvement is the key to enacting lasting changes which may address the expressed concerns of the evening. Across the state, Bagert said communities are beginning to clearly define citizen-centric guidelines on which ITEP applications will best serve the community’s interests.

“Whether it’s job requirements or making sure it’s something that is moving in, the goal of citizens is to establish, ‘What do we want our officials to say is the best interest of the state?’” Bagert said.

Once such parameters are defined, he said, “Put that into an ordinance or a resolution and declare it to the hilltops so that everyone knows what the deal is. That’s when they (industry) have certainty.”

Implementing a clearly defined process with citizen voices is much more similar to what industries are used to working with in states like Texas which exempts only $2.4 billion in property taxes annually compared with Louisiana which exempts $80.4 billion from local property tax rolls, according to Bagert.

For more information on future ITEP concerned citizens events and correspondences, email Dr. Alan Hinton at ahintonmd@yahoo.com .

””Industrial Tax Exemptions

SportsPlus

McNeese Sports

Former Cowboy MacIntyre wins again

Local News

Penn. governor: Man killed at Trump rally ‘died a hero’

Local News

UPDATE: Fire chief who died at Trump rally used his body to shield others

Local News

UPDATE: Trump calls for unity after assassination attempt

Local News

Iowa Mayor Neal Watkins speaks about effort to oust him from office

Business

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Local News

UPDATE: Trump says bullet pierced right ear

Local News

UPDATE: Shooting at Trump rally being investigated as assassination attempt

Local News

UPDATE: Trump ‘fine’ after being whisked off stage

Local News

Trump rushed off stage by Secret Service as bangs heard at Pennsylvania rally

Local News

Unrestrained driver, passenger killed in Beauregard crash

Local News

School Board gives Van Metre four-year contract

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Traffic cameras are targeted

Crime

UPDATE: Victim identified in Sulphur officer-involved shooting

Local News

Area medical facilities have treated dozens for heat-related illnesses

McNeese Sports

SLC releases basketball schedules

life

SW La. nightlife calendar: There’s always something to do

life

Calcasieu SerialFest flying high with tribute to superheroes

Crime

7/12: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

Jennings considers requiring commercial parking lots to have concrete, asphalt or approved decorative paving

Business

Industrial tax exemption supported for solar energy farm

Crime

Grandmother of 4-year-old found dead: ‘I knew he was in danger’

Local News

Neighbors unite to fight construction of townhome development at corner of Ernest and W. Claude streets

life

Lindsay Gaar represents city at Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.