What Will Happen to Bastrop if International Paper Closes?

September 19, 2007

We lost Starcraft. We have lost State Farm. We have lost the Guide Plant. We never had a chance for Toyota.What happens if we loose International Paper?!When the Richland Parish “Megasite” was consider as a location for a Toyota car plant, our South Louisiana Governor took a vacation to Japan. This is the same Governor whose husband was the campaign manager for Edwin “Fast Eddie” Edwards, the only Louisiana Governor to occupy a Federal prison cell (and still does).

When a German steel company considered locating in Louisiana, that same Governor offered up over a BILLION DOLLARS to coerce this company to locate in SOUTH Louisiana.

When Republicans in the Legislature pointed out that Louisiana should support EXISTING businesses in Louisiana, all that Governor offered was a VETO.

While Dimocrats were busy voiding the law and busting spending caps, the Republicans fought to restrain government spending and focus on the NECESSITIES, like schools, roads, and bridges, but, the Dimocrats would have no part of common sense.

Instead of focusing on deteriorating infrastructure and economic development, the Dimocrats focused on frivolous expenditures like theaters and museums.

No one in Baton Rouge ever gave serious thought to Toyota locating in Northeast Louisiana.

Why would they?

Northeast Louisiana is the most neglected part of this entire state. East Carroll, West Carrol, Madison, Tensas, and Richland Parishes have had the worst unemployment reports in the ENTIRE COUNTRY ….FOR DECADES! Yet, we send the same politicians back to Baton Rouge expecting a different result …obviously, a clear case of insanity.

When Toyota delivered the bad news, damage control moved in and blamed the loss of Toyota on “Bubba” for failing to throw that trash in a can, instead of the back of his pick-up, which found its way onto Interstate 20.

HOGWASH!!!

The truth is, no one in Baton Rouge ever thought Toyota was stupid enough to locate in Louisiana, ESPECIALLY since Toyota was actually considering NORTHEAST Louisiana, and the south Louisiana power structure never thought it was worth their time.

However, when ThyssenKrupp Steel considered building in SOUTH Louisiana, the picture changed considerably. Our Governor and her Dimocrat cohorts offered the Germans over ONE BILLION DOLLARS to locate in SOUTH Louisiana.

Unfortunately, the Germans told the Governor that Louisiana does not possess a qualified workforce to work in a steel mill, the REAL reason Toyota did not locate in Louisiana. Toyota told our Governor, “Sorry, we don’t think you have enough available workers with enough education to work in a car plant.” So, Toyota picked Tupelo, Mississippi, and steel will be produced in Alabama. Along with a poor workforce and coinciding with further complaints from Toyota, business taxes were too high (the highest in the country) and Alabama was a much friendlier state, which had the cooperation of the Mississippi Governor that just landed Toyota.

Republicans in the Louisiana Legislature cried out to help local business and secure what we had, and if not for the Election Season, those cries would have fell on deaf ears.

Since Dimocrats were so willing to give Germans over a BILLION DOLLARS, the Republicans thought surely the Legislature and the Governor would see the urgent need to shore up local businesses and pushed forth a meager tax break for Louisiana business.

During a stress-filled budget argument, Republicans managed to craft a bill that would allow a very small 1% reduction in the utility taxes imposed by the State, a tax Dimocrats were willing to exempt German steel producers ENTIRELY.

Given the “Election Season”, it was not “appropriate” for any politician to vote against this bill, so a plan had to be concocted by the Dimocrats to prevent any loss of tax revenue, while protecting the image of Dimocrat politicians. The bill passed, almost UNANIMOUSLY in the Legislature. However, Governor Kathleen Blanco vetoed that bill. Local business was simply not as important as foreign business, and local Dimocrat politicians were now off the hook for not supporting tax breaks for local business. ALMOST.

The veto by the most inept Governor in Louisiana history could have been easily overridden by the Legislature had all of those Legislators stood by their votes, but that was not part of the plan. In an obvious political maneuver, Dimocrats from around the state refused to recognize the idiocy of the Governor’s veto, and stuck to their plan. There would be NO TAX CUTS FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES, and the veto was not challenged ….by the Dimocrats.

Excuses were made, that “a special veto session was too expensive”, and “the votes are not there to override the veto”, but that was an OUTRIGHT LIE.

If every Legislator had stood by their vote, the veto would have been EASILY overridden, but in pure partisan politics, and with disingenuous motives, the veto was not overridden and families were put at risk, especially in Northeast Louisiana.

Charles McDonald facilitated that lie, and voted to put families in Northeast Louisiana in jeopardy by refusing to support local business, particularly in Morehouse Parish. It was all fine and good to giveaway a BILLION DOLLARS to the Germans to help SOUTH Louisiana, but Charles McDonald refused to fight for a tax break that could very well prove to have saved the jobs of hundreds of workers in Morehouse and neighboring Parishes.

On a state level, the tax break for local business could only be described as minor. Barely $60 Million dollars would have been spread out across the entire state to relieve local business from the burden of the HIGHEST BUSINESS TAXES IN THE COUNTRY, but that pittance was too much for the Dimocrats to give back to those struggling in the worst economy in the country, even with a record surplus of money available.

Now, the entire record surplus is GONE; spent by a bunch of “drunken sailors” who scratched each other’s back, but gave little thought to the needs of those that put them in such an important position of protecting local interests, and not the interests of selfish south Louisiana politicians, AND THEMSELVES.

What happens if International Paper can no longer afford to pay the taxes imposed by these political vampires? It will either move, or simply shutdown completely.

What will happen to Bastrop if International Paper leaves Louisiana? Bastrop and Northeast Louisiana will suffer in the worst ways with little hope to replace the despair.

Charles McDonald supported south Louisiana over his own constituency.

Mike Walsworth fought to save International Paper and to help Morehouse Parish.

Charles McDonald voted to gamble with the livelihoods of his constituency.

Mike Walsworth fought to save local jobs, protect local business, and to cultivate our families’ future.

Charles McDonald refused to standup and fight for what is right, and what is in the best interest of Morehouse Parish and Northeast Louisiana.

Mike Walsworth stood up against the most inept Governor of Louisiana.

Charles McDonald voted against local business.

Mike Walsworth voted to save his community.


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