A controversial property tax exemption for the Marathon Petroleum oil refinery in St. John the Baptist Parish is being left up to local government bodies coming out of a Wednesday meeting by a state board. The Parish Council, Sheriff’s Office and School Board in St. John have 90 days to decide whether to approve the incentives. In an unusual agreement approved by the state board, each could either approve, deny or ignore the tax exemption request individually. The agreement does not require all three to reach the same conclusion. If no action is taken, Marathon would not get the property tax exemptions it’s seeking.The Advocate
Together Louisiana was the driving force behind this decision and Marathon as indicated they will abide by the local decision.
Together Louisiana in 2017 downloaded a copy of the Louisiana Economic Development department’s entire database of applications for tax breaks. As the activists looked over November’s commerce board agenda, they checked the older list of projects. The activists found the $275 million coker drum installation listed under the same project number as an older $386 million project to install a natural gasoline hydrotreater at the refinery predating the 2016 rules change. ”This reflects clear intent to have the 100% and the no local approval process,” said Broderick Bagert, of Together Louisiana. ”We find it kind of astounding these are even being contemplated for approval.”
The remaining question is will this become the norm or will there always be a fight to get the needed money to the local government rather than to industry as a tax break.