The expected closure of a Shell Oil refinery in Convent, Louisiana could have disastrous impacts on local school systems because of local governments’ reliance on fossil fuels for tax revenue, The Advocate reported.
Public schools in St. James Parish could face a budget shortfall of nearly $14 million over the next year and a half, forcing teachers and other employees to lose their jobs and making class sizes bigger. The tax revenue losses are expected to come not just from the refinery itself but from reduced sales and other taxes driven by the refinery’s outsized impact on the local economy. Local advocates blamed the feared school cuts were “totally avoidable” and blamed the state government for “giv[ing] away hundreds of millions that Shell would’ve otherwise been paying in taxes.”
This was totally avoidable. The state did not have to give away hundreds of millions that Shell would've otherwise been paying in taxes, and if business other than toxic industry got the same level of support from the state, St. James Parish would prosper. https://t.co/CBKILiG9sx
— Louisiana Bucket Brigade (@labucketbrigade) November 11, 2020
Louisiana is not alone in facing education cuts because of its reliance on fossil fuel revenue; earlier this year Wyoming faced revenue shortfalls equal to approximately the state’s entire education budget because of falling demand for oil and gas.