Here’s a press release the Louisiana Republican Party put out this morning on John Bel Edwards’ performance in supporting the oil and gas industry – which is having its annual industry day at the State Capitol, complete with a forum at which Edwards will be faced with his two Republican challengers Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone, with Edwards’ record on oil and gas front and center in the discussion.
(Baton Rouge, LA) – Today, as we observe Oil & Gas Day in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards continues his assault on Louisiana’s lifeblood, the oil and gas industry, thereby jeopardizing the economic security of hundreds of thousands of workers and their families.
Since taking office Edwards has bombarded the oil and gas companies with lawsuits, regulations, and higher taxes, and the sad results clearly show in Louisiana’s diminished importance in the nation’s energy economy.
To illustrate the damage that John Bel Edwards has caused, read below:
- He has actively encouraged lawsuits against the oil and gas industry in parishes across the state, which is unsurprising since the trial lawyer lobby spent over $2.6 million electing him.
- The Wall Street Journal: “Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was elected in 2015 with substantial support from trial lawyers, and he’s now repaying them in kind. The former minority leader of the state’s House of Representatives is effectively extorting oil and gas companies to backfill the budget while engineering what could be a handsome payday for his friends at a politically connected law firm.” (March 2018)
- His changes to Louisiana’s highly successful, eighty plus year old Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) have burdened energy companies by creating uncertainty in the cost of future investment in the state. ExxonMobil has taken the extraordinary step of publicly stating that they will no longer factor the program into their decision-making.
- ExxonMobil: “Due to the uncertainty, we will have to assume there is no ITEP incentive as we make cost projections on future investment opportunities in Louisiana.” (January 2019)
- In 2018 alone, Louisiana under John Bel Edwards lost 1,100 jobs in the sector that includes the oil and gas industry, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana has raised taxes and fees at a higher rate than any other state in the country, further weakening the business climate for the state’s oil and gas industry.
- Former Democratic Congressman Chris John: “It is the engine that drives our economy… A governor who would not recognize that, I think, is doing a disservice to Louisiana.” (July 2018)
With more than 260,000 employees across the state and an average annual wage of more than $96,500 (almost double the state’s average wage), and a contribution of more than $2 billion in annual state taxes, it is clear that the energy industry is critical to Louisiana’s employment, state budget and overall economic success.
“Our state deserves a governor who will work to build up our economy, not tear it down. Governor Edwards continues to show that he is willing to put Louisiana’s economic health and working families at risk to boost his trial lawyer backers,” commented LAGOP Executive Director Andrew Bautsch.
It’s going to be fascinating to watch Edwards fend off the criticism bound to come his way at the forum the Grow Louisiana Coalition will be putting on at 1:00 today. Exactly how he’s going to defend a record of shrinking the state’s most lucrative industry and sending its people to Texas will be quite worth seeing.
Abraham and Rispone have an excellent opportunity to put Edwards on defense and hold him to account. We’ll see what happens.