Recently signed law could benefit Vidalia PortPublished 12:13am Thursday, June 27, 2013
VIDALIA — A bill Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Wednesday may encourage business to the Vidalia Port with a tax-credit as the proverbial carrot.
Senate Bill 122 modifies the existing investor tax credit and the import-export tax credit by expanding the type of investments that qualify. The goal is for the state to give up a bit of tax to spark companies to fully utilize the state’s ports.
Under the new law, private companies may quality for tax credits for warehouse and storage, port operations, marine cargo handling, ship building and repairs and oil and gas improvements.
“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.”
The governor said spurring companies to invest in Louisiana ports through the tax credit is critical to the state’s economic development.
“If we’re going to remain competitive and keep creating jobs for our people, we need to redirect Louisiana cargo through Louisiana ports, creating a new critical mass of cargo that attracts new shipping services, distribution and warehousing services and infrastructure investment. This legislation will do just that — attract new companies who want to ship goods and services through our waterways, ultimately moving our economy forward.”
The Louisiana Port Authority must approve all projects intended to take advantage of the bill. Projects that exceed $2.5 million per tax year are not eligible for tax credits.
The Vidalia Port project has been planned for more than a decade. Currently, the project is wrapping up its permitting phase before the next phase of construction begins in October, Port Director Wyly Gilfoil said recently.
The Vidalia Port has $5 million in priority 1 money set aside for it in the 2013 capital outlay bill, currently awaiting Jindal’s signature.
Though private companies may receive an initial benefit from the bill, state government will take ownership of any facilities after a company leaves, said Sen. Neil Riser, (R-Columbia).
“If a private company wants to make capital improvements to a shipping facility, they will get a tax credit,” Riser said. “But if they take advantage of the tax credit, then the state possesses the facility once the company leaves.”