As Louisiana’s oil and gas industry deals with a number lawsuits condemning its operations, candidates for governor are seizing every opportunity they have to share their opinions on the condition of business in the state and what changes they want to bring.
On May 1 at an Oil and Natural Gas Industry Day event hosted by Grow Louisiana Coalition, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA), Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) and Consumer Energy Alliance, Gov. John Bel Edwards was joined by two gubernatorial candidates — Eddie Rispone and state Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto) — to discuss the hottest topics in Louisiana politics.
Among topics were taxes and lawsuits, as they apply both to the state of Louisiana and the oil and gas industries.
According to an article by The Advocate, Abraham said if elected he would cut the gas and oil industry’s taxes and stop the lawsuits that have been hindering their operations. Meanwhile, Rispone decried the frequency of lawsuits, stating that “lawsuit abuse is killing thousands of jobs.”
In addition to their shared opinion on lawsuits, Abraham and Rispone both claimed they would make it easier for companies that use the Industrial Tax Exemption Program to receive their tax breaks.
“The impact of lawsuit abuse is resonating with all Louisianans, and the effects of coastal lawsuits against our vital energy industry simply cannot be ignored. Louisiana needs jobs, not more lawsuits that benefit wealthy trial attorneys at the expense of hard working citizens and the economy of the entire state,” Lana Venable, executive director of Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch, told Louisiana Record.
Rispone’s statement about the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of lawsuits resounded with Venable, who said that they are leading to direct impacts for voters and their wallets.
“Every Louisiana family pays an average hidden ‘tort tax’ of about $4,000 annually, along with the second-highest auto insurance rates in the country,” Venable said. “Voters are tired of the status quo and are demanding that their elected officials take action. Candidates in this fall’s elections will have no choice but to address lawsuit abuse as a central campaign issue.”