Jindal signs bill to boost Fourchon

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Louisiana’s ports got an economic boost this week.

Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled to the Tri-parish area to personally deliver the good news.

Standing before a who’s who of local politicians at the Greater Lafourche Port Commission offices in Galliano last Wednesday, Jindal signed SB 122 into law.

The bill, which was authored by Houma state Sen. Norby Chabert, modifies the Investor Tax Credit (ITC) and the Import-Export Tax Credit (IETC) within Louisiana. This will expand the types of projects that will now qualify for exemptions to include warehousing and storage, port operations, marine cargo handling, ship building and repairs and other activities.

The credits will aid Louisiana companies that work in the state’s ports, which bill supporters say will make the ports more competitive in the global marketplace.

“Today is a great day for Louisiana’s ports,” Jindal said. “Here in our state, we know that ports equal jobs, and the legislation we’re signing into law today will go a long way toward strengthening ports across our state and creating opportunities for our people.”

Passing a bill involving taxes or tax credits was not an easy thing to do in Louisiana’s current tough economic climate.

But Chabert’s bill survived and was made law.

Jindal applauded the local politician for his diligence in representing the best interests of his constituents in Baton Rouge.

“This area has great representation in Baton Rouge,” Jindal said.

Chabert thanked Jindal for the complimentary words and then shared some of his own.

The local political leader said he owed thanks to his colleagues for voting for the bill’s passage. Chabert said he also owed thanks to officials at Port Fourchon for their ambitious goals to continue pushing the port forward into the future.

“This legislation will further allow us to capitalize on one of our greatest economic assets – our port system,” Chabert said. “It will incentivize investment, which will provide more jobs for Louisianians in our energy sector, and it will increase the shipping of goods through our waterways.

“I’m truly honored to have authored this legislation that will continue to grow our maritime economy and continue to support our port system.”

According to text on the bill, SB 122 will alter the following things to the tax credits involving Louisiana’s ports.

• Adds “ship building and repair” and “support activities for oil and gas operations” to the definition of “port or port and harbor activity.”

• Authorizes LED to grant a credit when it determines that such project will have a “significant positive economic impact” such as positive tax revenue, after taking into account direct, indirect and induced impacts of the project.

• Provides LED the flexibility to award the IETC to international businesses based on pre-contract tonnage.

• Removes the transferability of the IETC.

• States that no tax credit may be granted for a project that exceeds $2.5 million per tax year, and the total amount of tax credits granted is capped at $6.25 million per fiscal year.

• Prohibits the credits from being applied against tax liability before July 1, 2014.

• Places a sunset date on the credit of Jan. 1, 2020.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signs SB 122 into law at the Port Commission office in Galliano. Surrounded by a slew of local politicians, Jindal said the bill will provide much-needed financial incentive to our state’s ports.