Settle: Shreveport City Council should approve Inferno ITEP application

On Tuesday the Shreveport City Council should officially hang out the “We Want Your Business “ sign by approving an industrial tax exemption (ITEP) for Inferno, a Shreveport machining company.
This exemption has been on the books for many years. In the past, these applications were approved only by the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry. An executive order by Governor John Bel Edwards now allows elected taxing bodies to decide the approval/disapproval of the exemption.
The Caddo Commission approved by unanimous vote the Inferno exemption on Thursday Feb 22. (The vote was 11-0; Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts was out of the Chambers.) The Commission’s vote only affects the dedicated millage to the Parish.
The exemption is for 100% of the ad valorem taxes for the first five years. Thereafter full taxes are paid for years 6-30, unless an additional exemption of 80% for three years is applied for and approved.
Inferno is a small family owned business in Agurs that provides substantial benefits to its employees. The investment of $480 thousand dollars in machinery will allow the production of equipment currently shipped in from India. Three additional full time employees with a new payroll of $200 thousand will be added.
The exemption will be equate to $2,422.80 per year in city ad valorem taxes. The total for five years will be $12,114.
The new payroll will of course have a multiplier effect. The employees will be paying income taxes and sales taxes as well as real estate ad valorem taxes if they own/purchase a residence. The new dollars in the local economy will also create additional jobs.
The Tyler administration has recommended approval of the exemption.
Shreveport needs to send a message to potential start-up companies as well as existing businesses that the City wants their business. Just recently Bossier City approved an ITEP application that will create fifty new direct jobs.
Economic development during the last three years in Shreveport has been stagnant and the City Council should approve this application. To not do so will certainly contribute to the out migration of businesses and jobs from a city that desperately needs more quality employment.
John Settle is an attorney and political columnists based in Shreveport-Bossier.