NYT: School Board Says No to Big Oil, and Alarms Sound in Louisiana

Industrial Tax Exemption Program, Together Louisiana, ExxonMobil

NYT: School Board Says No to Big Oil, and Alarms Sound in Louisiana

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
New York Yimes

It was a squabble over $2.9 million in property-tax breaks — small change for Exxon Mobil, a company that measures its earnings by the billions.
But when the East Baton Rouge Parish school board rejected the energy giant’s rather routine request last month, the “no” vote went off like a bomb in a state where obeisance to the oil, gas and chemical industries is the norm.
Together Baton Rouge and its sister organization, Together Louisiana, argue that the industrial tax breaks starve local schools and governments of badly needed funds and leave them unable to lift a state mired toward the bottom of national rankings on education, crime and infrastructure. In Baton Rouge, one in four residents lives in poverty.
Their message has found an audience: Together Louisiana’s YouTube video about the exemptions, posted in November and titled “Why Louisiana Stays Poor,” has been viewed more than 600,000 times.