Zurik: Councilmember asks state board to deny Folgers request for retroactive tax exemptions

Folgers made improvements on its New Orleans facilities, but years later are asking a state board to exempt them from the taxes on the project
Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 4:55 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans City Councilmember says a major company is using a loophole to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes owed to the city and now she wants a state board to put a stop to it.

City Council Vice President Helena Moreno, in a letter to the Louisiana Commerce and Industry Board, asks the board to deny exemptions for the Folgers facility in New Orleans East. She pointed out to the board that typically companies ask for these exemptions shortly after completing work, but Folgers has waited years to ask for an exemption.

A FOX 8 Lee Zurik Investigation uncovered how Folgers has not been paying taxes on the improvements made in 2017 to their New Orleans facilities. The work at the facilities was complete in 2018. Folgers initially asked for the exemption after the work was complete in 2018, but the state then asked for further information and did not receive that information for fifteen months, in February 2020. The company then asked the board to delay any action on their request.

Two years since Folgers completed the improvements, the company has not paid any additional taxes and has not received an exemption.

Moreno said Folgers is seeking a “loophole to get a pass” at paying the city as much as $12 Million in taxes.

“The exemption, if approved, would cost New Orleans schools and other city services what is owed, plus millions more in lost revenue over the next ten years," she said.

She pointed out that New Orleans, like other communities are facing major budget shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the city “cannot afford for a large corporation to not pay its fair share when our residents and small business owners are being asked to sacrifice so much.”

The Commerce and Industry Board will meet on the exemption Friday morning in Baton Rouge.

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