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Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to allocate $8.3 million from the state’s economic development `mega-fund’ for business expansions in Lafayette and Monroe that will create up to 1,400 new jobs, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
The Schumacher Group, a company that manages emergency medicine services for hospitals, is receiving $5 million from the Mega-Project Development Fund. Telecommunications provider CenturyLink Inc. is getting $3.3 million from the fund.
The joint House and Senate budget committee in Louisiana agreed to the spending without objection, along with cooperative endeavor agreements with the companies that include performance benchmarks that must be reached for the businesses to keep the state dollars.
“These are two very exciting projects from an economic development perspective,” Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret told lawmakers.
Schumacher says it will create 600 new jobs over the next five years as part of the expansion, while CenturyLink says it will add 800 jobs by 2016. The positions will average salaries of $60,000 or more, plus benefits, Moret said.
Both companies are getting additional state incentives from other programs as well, which will have to be paid by lawmakers in later fiscal years now that the agreements are approved.
CenturyLink, a Fortune 500 company, is getting a total of $19.4 million from the state and has agreed to stay headquartered in Monroe through at least 2020, while Schumacher is receiving a total of $9 million and has agreed to stay in Lafayette through at least 2021.
“The companies are making long-term commitments to the state,” Moret said.
The CenturyLink agreement was a modification to a previous arrangement the state reached in 2010 with the company for a more modest expansion of its headquarters.
The Mega-Project Development Fund is used to attract manufacturing facilities and other big-ticket projects that create over 500 jobs or offer at least $500 million in new investment in the state.
Moret said the mega-fund now has $36 million in unobligated dollars remaining for projects.