Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined Sasol North America Inc. President Mike Thomas at the company's Lake Charles Chemical Complex, where the Governor signed into law an extension of Louisiana's Quality Jobs program, an incentive that has created thousands of jobs and spurred billions of dollars of capital investment in Louisiana. Sasol's Lake Charles Chemical Complex is one of the many companies across Louisiana that has benefited from the Quality Jobs program.
Senate Bill 72 -- authored by state Sen. Mike Michot of Lafayette and part of the Governor's 2011 legislative package -- extends the Quality Jobs tax credit program from its scheduled sunset date of Jan. 1, 2012 to Jan. 1, 2018. Many companies that have successfully applied for the program will continue to reap the benefits of annual tax and payroll benefits for creating jobs that pay significantly above average and provide quality benefits.
In the program, companies that operate in one of the state's targeted business sectors or that bring sales from out of state can qualify for payroll rebates of 5 percent or 6 percent for up to 10 years. In addition, Quality Jobs provides for a 4 percent sales tax rebate on capital expenditures or a 1.5 percent investment tax credit.
"Quality Jobs has long been one of Louisiana's most successful business incentives," said Governor Jindal. "At a time when Louisiana's economy is outperforming the nation -- and gaining more quality jobs than our Southern competitors -- it's more important than ever to keep up the tremendous momentum we've established since 2008. This six-year extension will continue to help foster an environment where companies want to invest so we can create good-paying jobs for our people to pursue their dreams right here at home."
Sen. Michot said, "We want to provide companies as much incentive as possible to grow and locate in Louisiana -- and the Louisiana Quality Jobs Program has been an important part of that strategy. This incentive has meant billions in capital investments and thousands of new opportunities for our citizens, and I was happy to work alongside Gov. Jindal in making sure we don't slow down on the progress we've made."
About 30 companies a year qualify for Quality Jobs incentives. In 2009 and 2010 alone, the Quality Jobs program supported business location or expansion projects that will generate nearly 5,500 new direct jobs and more than $1.7 billion in capital investment in Louisiana. For every $1 spent on Quality Jobs incentives, the state gets a return of $2.32 into the economy.
In Westlake, Sasol's Lake Charles Chemical Complex announced a $175 million expansion in December 2010 that will result in the world's first commercial ethylene tetramerization unit. With an added yearly production of 100,000 metric tons, the company will make chemicals that add greater elasticity and strength to consumer products, such as automotive interiors and plastic bags. By offering Sasol the Quality Jobs payroll and tax incentives, Louisiana won a $175 million capital investment, 36 new permanent Sasol jobs, 12 new contractor jobs, 500 temporary construction jobs and another estimated 240 indirect jobs in the Lake Charles region.
"We at Sasol appreciate incentives such as the Quality Jobs program," said Mike Thomas, president of Sasol North America Inc. "As an international company, our Lake Charles Operations must compete for upgrades and growth within our own company on a worldwide basis. Our projects must compete against countries with more favorable capital costs, more favorable labor costs, and more favorable tax rates. Programs like Quality Jobs help to us to level the playing field and bring projects and jobs to Southwest Louisiana."
"The Quality Jobs program has benefited Dr. Reddy's Laboratories as we expanded our product lines in North Louisiana and added new meaningful jobs in the area. We are very pleased Quality Jobs has been extended and enhanced, so other companies can also take advantage of the benefits of this program which allow businesses to grow and reinvest in their communities," said Paul Granberry, Senior Director and Head, Dr. Reddy's North American Generics.
Built into state law, the Quality Jobs incentives are available to every existing and new Louisiana company that meets the program's criteria.
"For years, the Quality Jobs program has been one of Louisiana's best tools to encourage existing Louisiana companies to expand, as well as to attract new companies to Louisiana," said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. "We are grateful that Governor Jindal and the Legislature made a commitment to extend this valuable program for six more years."