AL Fares OK in Georgia-Pacific Reshuffle, LA Walloped

Completed in 2018, a $388 million recovery boiler tower at Georgia-Pacific’s containerboard mill in Brewton, Alabama. Photo courtesy of Georgia-Pacific

Alabama is a comparative winner among Southern states in the major restructuring announced by Georgia-Pacific at the beginning of the summer, and the biggest loser is Louisiana, especially considering tax incentives, according to a report yesterday by PRWatch.

Georgia-Pacific, in June, announced a retreat from its commercial paper, particleboard and wood products businesses. A particleboard mill in Monroeville was Alabama’s biggest hit, bringing a layoff of 100 workers.

On the other hand, G-P renewed its focus on bath tissue, including a mill in Naheola, Alabama, which has seen a $120 million investment.

The biggest loser among states was Louisiana, said PRWatch. Good Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker reported G-P received $90 million in tax subsidies from just 2013 to 2016, of which $62 million came from a 2013 property tax abatement under Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) for G-P’s plant in Port Hudson near Baton Rouge.

This summer’s corporate realignment included the closure of the Port Hudson plant and 700 layoffs. About 300 jobs remain for the production of toilet and tissue paper, but a Louisiana State University study finds that the loss of jobs in Port Hudson “could ripple into an estimated loss of nearly 2,150 other jobs across Louisiana.”

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“G-P received $203 million in Louisiana ITEP tax breaks between 1998 and 2017, second only to ExxonMobil,” reported PRWatch. “One report suggests that G-P only created 105 permanent jobs with that money, for a cost to taxpayers of about $1.9 million per job.”

Georgia-Pacific employs a total of about 2,400 workers at seven facilities in Alabama — in Monroeville (lumber), Brewton (containerboard), Talladega (lumber), Naheola (tissue paper), Belk (lumber), Huntsville (corrugated cardboard) and Perdue Hill (cellulose fiber).

Georgia-Pacific is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

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