EUNICE, La. (KLFY) — The Louisiana oil and gas industry is poised to get a major shot in the arm if a bill on Governor John Bel Edwards desk gets his signature.
House Bill 29 would suspend all severance taxes on new or restorative oil well projects in the state.
Many groups hope it will attract businesses and jobs back to Acadiana.
“I’d jump at the chance to work in Louisiana, but it just ain’t there,” expressed Cal Cormier.
Cormier lives in Eunice and is one of the thousands of oil field workers having to go outside of the state to find a job, but it’s not by his choice. Louisiana has the highest oil production tax in the south.
“From a business perspective, they have to follow the money too and the oil too, so they go to go where they got to go and take us along with them,” said Cormier.
Stories like his is why State Representative Phillip DeVillier wrote House Bill 29. He told News 10, “You look around the state of Louisiana as a whole and historically how much the oil and gas industry has meant to our state, we’ve got to do something. We’re past time of doing something.”
Groups like the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association believe the proposal will kickstart the oil & gas sector. LOGA Interim President Mike Moncla said those jobs pay the highest weekly wage in the state and employs 1 out of every 9 Louisianians.
“The state’s making very little or zero on these types of wells today. So what this is saying if we go spend a hundred grand or 200 grand on a workover, that might convince the oil company to do that type of job,” Moncla said about the projects targeting abandoned or under-producing wells.
For DeVillier, LOGA, and Cal Cormier, they say the Governor needs to sign the bill. Cormier said if he had an audience with the governor, he’d say “Do you want us to keep going to Texas and spending our money over there and do our thing over there or would you like to come back to Louisiana?”
News 10 reached out to Governor John Bel Edward’s office for comment on the bill but has not heard back.
It should be pointed out, a similar measure was passed in the 80’s to help employ oil and gas workers in Louisiana. DeVillier said the temporary tax exemption brought back the jobs then, and he that’s the goal of his measure now.
If signed, the measure will last 3 years starting January 1, 2021.