Let’s give a billion dollars to Sasol, but cut our colleges and universities

20 Dollars art3

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Robert Mann

The headline of a story posted on the website of Engineering News caught my eye:

Louisiana extends $1bn in incentives for Sasol investments

The story began: “South African energy and chemicals group has secured investment incentives collectively valued at around $1-billion from the state of Louisiana, in the US, to support its proposed development of an ethane cracker and a gas to liquids (GTL) facility in the Lake Charles area.”

Louisiana is coming up with $1 billion in incentives to attract one company.

I guess when Gov. Bobby Jindal says that Louisiana is business friendly, he means, “We’ll give you a billion dollars if you open your business here.”

How is this not a scandal?

And how is it that we can find hundreds of millions to attract businesses to Louisiana, but not a fraction of that for our colleges and universities?

Note: On Monday, LED Secretary Stephen Moret sent me the following message by email:

Your post about Sasol is very misleading. Every manufacturer in Louisiana has access to a 100-percent industrial property tax exemption for the first 10 years of a new capital investment. That local property tax exemption has existed for decades. In fact, most other states have a similar, standard property tax exemption for manufacturing projects. I don’t know where the $1 billion number came from, but it most surely is primarily the result of the industrial property tax exemption. Because Sasol is a huge project, the value of statutorily exempted local property taxes is quite large.
Louisiana is not “coming up with $1 billion in incentives to attract one company”. That is simply false. In fact, the Sasol project will represent one of the largest sources of new funding for higher education in decades.
I respond to Moret in this post.

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2 Responses to Let’s give a billion dollars to Sasol, but cut our colleges and universities

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Good question, Bob. Also, I often wonder if companies like this also come here because they figure we are lax in enforcement of environmental regulations. Kind of gives us that “third world” cachet, don’t you think?

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  2. Pingback: Stephen Moret is not happy | Something Like the Truth

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