RISPONE: Edwards Still Won’t Admit His Mistake on ITEP

God bestowed our great state with natural resources that would become the catalyst for economic success for generations to come: the mighty Mississippi River, the vast natural resources that lay beneath our feet, and the will of our great people.

In 1909, the Standard Oil Company first began operations on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, and made it possible for thousands of families to build lives and pursue the American Dream. It began a new era for Baton Rouge. Plants like Standard Oil, Dow, Kaiser Aluminum, Allied Chemical, and Ethyl established themselves here and became integral pillars of our community for years to come.

They have been the backbone of Louisiana’s economy for generations, employing tens of thousands of families since that Standard Oil refinery first went on stream. My family was one of these: my father worked for Standard Oil Company – he never got wealthy doing it, but that company gave him an opportunity to work that allowed him to build a life for his wife, and the seven of us children.

The prosperity our region saw did not simply come from Standard Oil directly either–these pillar companies in the region spawned hundreds of other indirect industries, from those directly involved in oil and gas and engineering, to the real estate boom that came, and even things like feeding the people who worked at these companies.

Yes, there has long been a relationship between the families in our region and these companies that has been good and profitable for us for generations. Yet, unbelievably, today this long-standing relationship is in peril.

A reasonable person might ask how it could possibly be that our state, which has benefited so much from these companies, and whose families have relied on these jobs for so long, could possibly allow a relationship this important to be in danger. The answer is simple: This week Governor Edwards sided with Together Baton Rouge in their fight to take down ExxonMobil.

You see, with a stroke of his pen back in 2016, Governor Edwards issued a politically-motivated executive order that threw our state’s economy into chaos. He issued this executive order aligning with the leftist group Together Baton Rouge without any thought of the consequences to job creators.

The Governor’s order allows Together Baton Rouge to exert political influence on local taxing authorities, using dishonest and divisive tactics. Unfortunately their scheme worked – last week Together Baton Rouge successfully lobbied the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board to reject ExxonMobil’s ITEP requests.

Now, ExxonMobil, the largest manufacturing employer in our state, is withdrawing its pending ITEP requests and reconsidering future projects in the parish. Even though ExxonMobil paid East Baton Rouge Parish two and a half times more in property taxes than any other company, it’s not enough for John Bel Edwards and his Together Baton Rouge friends.

This is one of the most important companies in Louisiana for families. The actions of our governor and his allies will cost Louisiana thousands of jobs for working families in our state and set us back decades.

There can be no more doubt: no matter how many times Governor Edwards pretends to be moderate in the coming year, he has aligned himself with Louisiana’s Left. He is a liberal, tax-and-spend, career politician who does not appreciate job creators.

For over 30 years I have been working with and alongside Louisiana job creators in virtually all sectors of our economy. I know how important job creators are to our state.

I know what it takes to create jobs.  And I know that Louisiana needs a fresh outside approach. We need someone with leadership experience and a business skill set. We need a leader who is responsible and accountable to taxpayers and job creators.

I ask my fellow Louisiana citizens to take note of this episode, and the harm it has done to our state. Unless this is addressed immediately, Louisiana will spend a generation recovering from the damage this order has caused.

We cannot allow this to continue.

We need a new Governor.

Eddie Rispone
Republican Candidate for Governor

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