Tia Mills

East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators President Tia Mills, center, speaks at the Louisiana Association of Educators office about a lawsuit filed against East Baton Rouge Tax Assessor Brian Wilson over ExxonMobil's tax assessment. 

If I were deciding the Exxon tax abatement issue in Baton Rouge, I’d keep it as simple as possible.

Death and taxes are part of life. Exxon ought to be an adult and take its medicine. Even the Bible suggests that you should pay your taxes.

Both sides in the abatement debate are right. (1) Exxon has done a lot for the city, yet Baton Rouge still needs tax dollars, desperately. (2) Business expansion is great — yet how are the companies that don’t get abatements suppose to react? (3) Business may be more efficient than government — yet business can always fire a problem person, while government has to work with everybody.

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Sometimes I think that with these abatements, Exxon loses a lot more value in bad public relations, then it ever gains in tax-credits. Maybe it’s not Exxon that’s squeezing Baton Rouge, but a few people in Exxon who have made their career out of fishing for tax abatements.

Pay your taxes, Exxon. Please. Baton Rouge is not equipped to play chicken with the most successful corporation in the world. We’re going to have a nervous breakdown.

Tom Barton

retired programmer

Baton Rouge