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.