Our Turn: Business Incentives

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

No other state in the union has given out more money in business incentives in recent years than Louisiana. That's not necessarily a bad thing, if those investments are paying off, but as our Lee Zurik uncovered in his "Payoffs for Layoffs" investigation, many of the incentive dollars seem to be a big waste.

Zurik found many examples where the state gave companies millions in tax incentives for hiring workers, only to turn around within a short period of time and lay those workers off. Zurik cited the aluminum producer, Ormet, which re-opened a facility in Ascension Parish, receiving a $14 million incentive package. Sixteen months later, the company laid off its full workforce, but more than a year after announcing the layoffs, Ormet still received a rebate of $1.3 million for hiring the very employees it laid off.

It's hard to make a perfect entitlement program, but in the last seven years, Louisiana's given away $11 billion dollars in business incentives. Our state government needs to make better business decisions.

That's "Our Turn." Now, it's your turn. To comment on this segment or anything else, visit us on Facebook or send an email to yourturn@wafb.com.