Accountable USA - Louisiana

Louisiana has a long history of enormous corporate giveaways. The state is awarding over $1 billion a year in industrial property tax exemptions for existing facilities and is willing to spend big to attract new ones. This sparked two major investigative reporting that documented billions of public dollars spent on subsidies but with doubtful results: The eight-part series Giving Away Louisiana was published at the end of 2014 at and nine-part series Easy Money was aired at the beginning of 2015 at 

Other large incentive programs include Motion Picture Production Investor Tax Credit, Quality Jobs Program, and Enterprise Zones. These cost over $300 million in 2019. In 2010, the state created a database called FastLane that includes recipient information for four programs but lacks the subsidy amounts, which are only available in downloadable annual reports. In our survey of five major programs, we found that the annual reports and FastLane cover three of them.

In December 2013, the state created a separate database for its film and digital media subsidies. The public, however, is still in the dark on which companies are receiving tax credits for equipment purchases.




Corporate misconduct: Results page for Louisiana in Violation Tracker

Subsidy deals: Results page for Louisiana in Subsidy Tracker (see also: mega-deals)

Tax revenue loss: Results page for Louisiana in Tax Break Tracker

Disclosure enforcement: Louisiana GASB 77 Roadmap



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Key Subsidy Programs

Subsidy Program Recent Annual
Online Recipient
Recipient Disclosure
Job-Quality Score**
Enforcement Score***

Enterprise Zones

corporate income and franchise tax credits tied to the hiring of workers from targeted groups

$37.3 million (2019)

Industrial Tax Exemption Program

longstanding and controversial property tax abatements awarded by the state for industrial investment

$1.485 billion (2018)

Motion Picture Production (Investor) Tax Credit

corporate income tax credit for motion picture investment

$180.0 million (2019)

Purchases of Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment Exemption

sales and use tax exemptions

$112.6 million (2019)

Quality Jobs Program

cash rebates for payroll costs and for sales and use taxes; also investment tax credits

$104.3 million (2019)

* The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Show Us the Subsidized Jobs (January 2014).

** The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Money for Something (December 2011).

*** The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Money-Back Guarantees for Taxpayers (January 2012).

Major Subsidy Deals

Nucor (2010)

After losing Germany’s ThyssenKrupp $3 billion steel mill to Alabama, officials in Baton Rouge were excited to learn in 2008 that U.S. steelmaker Nucor was considering Louisiana for a $2 billion plant of its own. The state put together a subsidy package that appeared to be to Nucor’s liking, but an official announcement was postponed as the company evaluated whether market conditions warranted moving ahead with the project. In July 2010 the state gave Nucor a big incentive to proceed by arranging to make available $500 million (later increased to $600 million) of Louisiana’s remaining Gulf Opportunity Zone tax-exempt bonding capacity (the program created in 2005 for states hurt by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita).

In September 2010 Nucor announced that it would move ahead on a $750 million iron-making plant with 150 jobs to be located in St. James Parish. This was the first phase of a revised $3.4 billion project. In addition to the bonds, the state agreed to provide up to $200 million in performance-based grants and a 20-year local property tax exemption if the company completed the entire project. For the first phase, Nucor was also offered $30 million in cash and a $30 million forgivable loan. (Key sources)

V-Vehicle/Next Autoworks (2009)

In June 2009 officials in Louisiana arranged for $82 million in state and local funds to a little known start-up company with plans to break into the automobile business. San Diego-based V-Vehicle said it wanted to build a next-generation fuel-efficient car at a vacant headlight plant in the northern Louisiana city of Monroe. The company declined to provide many details about the car but said that its investors included veteran venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and oilman-turned-renewable-energy-advocate T. Boone Pickens. Most of the state’s $67 million share of the subsidy was made contingent on V-Vehicle’s success in raising another $350 million, most of which was expected to come from a U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan. 

Ouachita Parish also decided that the company would have to return the $15 million local contribution (which was to be funded through a property tax increase) if it did not meet those additional capital requirements. The plan suffered a setback in March 2010 when the Energy Department turned down the loan bid, but the DOE allowed V-Vehicle to revise and re-submit its application (which it did in May 2010). In the meantime, the company reimbursed the state for the $6.2 million it had paid toward the project. In October 2010 the company changed its name to Next Autoworks. In November 2011 the company withdrew its DOE application, and the project appeared to be dead. (Key sources)

Walmart in Louisiana

  • At least 20 Wal-Mart locations have received subsidies worth about $96.5 million in Louisiana.
  • At least 1 Wal-Mart location in Louisiana has challenged its property tax assessment.
  • Many Wal-Mart workers are ineligible for health coverage from their employer or choose not to purchase what is available, because it is too expensive or too limited in scope. These workers often turn to taxpayer-funded health programs such as Medicaid. Louisiana is among those states that have not disclosed data on the employers with the most workers or their dependents enrolled in such programs.
  • Wal-Mart receives about $5.4 million a year from a state policy that allows retailers to keep a portion of the sales tax they collect from customers.

For more information, see the Louisiana page of Wal-Mart Subsidy Watch.