NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — New Orleans city leaders are speaking out against Folgers Coffee after the company reportedly refused to pay millions in property taxes.
In a press conference on Friday (Feb. 24), the city council and Orleans Parish School Board members will spoke on the company’s refusal to pay out.
“We are also here in the season of Lent and one thing the church teaches us about the season of lent is its a time of holding yourself accountable and today we are here to hold Folgers accountable,” said Pastor Shawn Anglim.
This comes nearly two years after the city denied the company six applications for Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP).
City leaders say despite the application being denied locally, the company has refused to pay the millions it owes in property taxes for its facility in New Orleans East.
“We believe Folgers should pay its taxes like all other citizens do,” Rev. Jeff Conner with Together New Orleans said in an interview with WGNO’s Kenny Lopez last year.
Orleans Parish Public school leaders say the schools are critically underfunded with a high teacher turnover rate due to the inability to adequately pay teachers.
“Everyone knows that there’s a crisis in many communities of our youth and because the Folgers company will not pay the taxes they are owed, we can not hire the same number of counselors and interventionists we need because of that reason,” said Carlos Luis Zervigon vice President of NOLA Public Schools.
NOLA Public School President Olin G Parker says that time is running out for students to get the resources needed for success.
” The students of our city need expanded access to mental health services, we need funds to combat chronic absentees that we are seeing post-COVID, we need funds to combat the learning loss post-COVID. It is time for Folgers to do their part,” said President Parker.
With approval by the state Board of Commerce and Industry and local government, the program provides an 80% property tax break for five years and the option to renew for five additional years. The company is scheduled to meet with the board next week.
City Council Vice President Helena Moreno, who was unable to attend the meeting sent a statement standing in the agreement of with Together New Orleans:
I apologize for not being able to attend in person and appreciate that my statement of supports for Together New Orleans is being read.
Today we say again what we have said before, Folgers must pay what it owes. The citizens of New Orlenas deserve a corporate neighbor. A neighbor that respects the law and contributes to our community’s greatest needs. It’s’ fair, it’s just and it’s right.
The people of New Orleans are asked every year to pay thier property taxes and all we’re asking of the Folgers Corperation is that they pay thier property taxes. This is money we could be using on critical priorities like public safety, our streets, affordable housing.
Thanks to Governor Edwards, a few years ago, we were able to take control of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program and authored strong local guidlines to ensure we only grant exemptions if corporations meet job crreation and local economic development goals.
Folgers has met guidlines in the past and the council has fairly granted those exemptions. But the Folgers exemption in question now failed these test and the council voted it down. Yet the company continues to seek a way around the ruling.
Our resolve is unchanged. Our ruling stands and it is critical that any attempts to circumvent the council’s authority, be denied.
Thank you Together New Orleans and countless advocates for staying in this fight. we will push to ensure that the people of New Orleans are not taken advantage of.City Council Vice President Helena Moreno