Louisiana Governor Denies Folgers' Property Tax Exemption Application Despite State Board Approval
Two years ago, Folgers, a coffee company, submitted an application for a tax exemption in New Orleans. However, the city officials denied the application, citing concerns about the loss of potential tax revenue that could have been used to fund local priorities such as schools, roads, and law enforcement.
Folgers decided to appeal to the state board, hoping for a different outcome. Recently, the state Board of Commerce and Industry advanced Folgers' application for the tax exemption.
Governor John Bel Edwards, however, has announced that he will exercise his constitutional right to deny Folgers' property tax exemptions. The governor believes that local governments should have the power to determine exemptions to their property taxes, as they rely on these taxes to fund essential services in their communities. In a statement, he said that his belief in local control of local money was the basis of the ITEP reforms his administration put in place in 2016. Therefore, he will deny the ITEP applications that were recently advanced by the state Board of Commerce and Industry after being rejected at the local level.
The governor's decision will become official once he receives the applications from Louisiana Economic Development, the state's economic development agency.
Members of the school board and "Together New Orleans" held a news conference in February to emphasize the significance of the expected tax revenue. According to them, this revenue is crucial in supporting important public services in the city.
Folgers has responded to the governor's decision, stating that they are confident that their applications should be granted based on the contractual details of the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement they signed when they consolidated their coffee operations to New Orleans. They claim that they have fulfilled and exceeded their annual job and payroll obligations under the agreement, have followed the outlined ITEP application process, and have no outstanding tax debt or previous filings under formal review. They have also emphasized their commitment to the New Orleans community and the positive impact they have on the area. Despite the ongoing controversy, Folgers is optimistic for an appropriate resolution and looks forward to continuing their positive impact on the community.