Monday, April 15, 2024

Louisiana board approves $80 million tax break for EV battery chemical plant with 9 permanent jobs

by BIZ Magazine

By Wes Muller, Louisiana Illuminator

A state panel approved an $80 million tax break this week for a Japanese company that promises to create nine full-time jobs once it builds a chemical plant in Jefferson Parish 

UBE Corp. plans to construct a new facility that manufactures chemical solvents for electric vehicle batteries inside the Cornerstone Chemical Complex, located on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Waggaman.

The Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry approved the company’s application for a $8 million first-year property tax break under the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP). 

Louisiana’s ITEP offers industrial manufacturers huge exemptions on property taxes, which local governments rely on to pay for things such as public schools, drainage, roads, law enforcement and other public services. 

Under ITEP, companies get to claim the exemption each year for a maximum of 10 years, bringing the total value of UBE’s tax break to an estimated $80.8 million, according to Louisiana Economic Development records.

UBE has promised to create nine full-time jobs at the new plant with an average annual salary of $55,000. That average adds up to a total annual payroll of $495,000. The company estimates it will also create 300 temporary jobs during the construction phase. 

The Board of Commerce and Industry, without discussion, quickly approved UBE’s application alongside dozens of others taking advantage of Louisiana’s wealth of corporate tax incentives. Wednesday marked what was likely the final meeting of board members appointed during Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration. 

UBE’s ITEP application will still have to go before Jefferson officials — its parish council, school board and sheriff — for local approval. If they don’t act, which is often the case, the Board of Commerce considers it tacit approval.

The Jefferson Parish Council was expected to vote Tuesday on an ITEP application from a Texas-based company that wanted to build a fertilizer plant at the same location in Waggaman. A subsidiary of American Plant Food Co. withdrew its request at the last minute following immense public pushback over reneged job promises

UBE plans to begin construction at the Cornerstone site as early as August 2024 and complete the project by July 2026.

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