Louisiana film tax credit transfer notices

Todd Feathers filed this request with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development of Louisiana.
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Completed

Communications

From: Todd Feathers

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the the Louisiana Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

1) Copies of any tax credit transfer notices submitted to Louisiana Economic Development and/or Louisiana Entertainment since Jan. 1, 2011.

In a message to film companies in 2012, Christopher Stelly, the executive director of Louisiana Entertainment, wrote that any entity submitting "tax credit transfer notices" to his department should be sure to redact sensitive information like social security numbers, tax ID numbers, and bank account information (http://louisianaentertainment.gov/news/insider-news/details/news797). As such, these documents should be available as public records in their entirety. Furthermore, Louisiana Revised Statutes 47:1524 explicitly states that "information regarding any transfer of the tax credit [shall be] released to the public pursuant to a public records request submitted to the state agency administering the tax credit program pursuant to the Public Records Law, R.S. 44:1 et seq."

I ask that all fees be waived for this request as I am a journalist employed by the Lowell Sun and I intend to use the requested records to publish articles in the public interest and not for any commercial purposes. I would be happy to discuss my request if you require clarification. I can be reached at 978-970-4650.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Todd Feathers

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the the Louisiana Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

1) Copies of any tax credit transfer notices submitted to Louisiana Economic Development and/or Louisiana Entertainment since Jan. 1, 2011.

In a message to film companies in 2012, Christopher Stelly, the executive director of Louisiana Entertainment, wrote that any entity submitting "tax credit transfer notices" to his department should be sure to redact sensitive information like social security numbers, tax ID numbers, and bank account information (http://louisianaentertainment.gov/news/insider-news/details/news797). As such, these documents should be available as public records in their entirety. Furthermore, Louisiana Revised Statutes 47:1524 explicitly states that "information regarding any transfer of the tax credit [shall be] released to the public pursuant to a public records request submitted to the state agency administering the tax credit program pursuant to the Public Records Law, R.S. 44:1 et seq."

I ask that all fees be waived for this request as I am a journalist employed by the Lowell Sun and I intend to use the requested records to publish articles in the public interest and not for any commercial purposes. I would be happy to discuss my request if you require clarification. I can be reached at 978-970-4650.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Todd Feathers

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Dear Mr. Feathers,

I have received your public records request today regarding Louisiana film tax credit transfer notices. The communication mentions previous requests, but today's is the first one that I have received.

Our standard rate for copies of official records is .25 per page. I will gather the responsive documents and then advise you of the cost for copies. Payment will be required before the documents can be released.

Thank you.

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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225.342.5145
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From: Ron Thibodeaux

Dear Mr. Feathers,

As you may not be aware, LED has only a small portion of the records requested, (specifically only transfer notices received between 1/1/2011-2/1/2014). However, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) has all of the film tax credit transfer notices requested, and we would therefore suggest that you contact LDR for best assistance (www.revenue.louisiana.gov<http://www.revenue.louisiana.gov>).

If you are interested in reviewing LED's partial records, please note the records are extensive and may contain confidential taxpayer information. At this time, we anticipate a minimum of four weeks to retrieve records from off-site storage, review, possibly redact for privilege and make available for inspection, and an approximate copying cost of $4,000 (eight banker's boxes containing approx. 2,000 pages per box).

Should you wish to proceed, copies can be made at a cost of .25 per page and will be available upon receipt of payment. Please submit an advance deposit of $250 payable to "Louisiana Economic Development" for the first batch of copies, and from then onwards our staff will be in regular communication with you concerning the status of copies and requesting additional funds when your advance has been depleted.

Thank you.

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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225.342.5145
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From: Todd Feathers

Ron,

Thank you for acting so quickly on this despite the initial mix up on my part -- I may have been using the wrong email address. Given the extent of the responsive records, I think it's probably in both of our best interest if I limit my request initially. There are a couple options I'm thinking of, but please feel free to suggest alternatives. To get an idea of exactly what kinds of records I'd be getting back, and how complete they would be, would it be possible to consolidate my request to say the 20 most recent tax credit transfer notices in LED's possession? Alternatively, does LED track the transfer notices it received in a spreadsheet or database? If so, I think that document would be the easiest way to get the information I'm after.

Let me know what you think, and thank you so much for the help.

Todd Feathers
cell: 608-698-5806

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Hi, Todd,

I'm out for much of the day today but am hoping to call you back about this later this afternoon. Thanks.

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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225.342.5145
M

From: Todd Feathers

Ron,

No rush, but I appreciate it!

Todd

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Sorry I couldn't get to this today. Will call you back Tuesday morning. Thanks.

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

T
225.342.5145
M

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Todd,

Will be phoning you shortly. See attached example of our state's transfer notice records, which I will discuss with you. Thanks.

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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225.342.5145
M

From: Todd Feathers

Ron,

As we discussed, I'd like to narrow my request to tax credit transfer notices submitted to LED between Oct. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2013. When you have a chance to review the extent of those records, I'll be happy to discuss it further. Thanks so much for your help with this.

Best,
Todd

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Hi, Todd,

The boxes were retrieved from the archives and are being reviewed by our legal staff, but they contain very few documents that will be useful for you. I'll be back from Mardi Gras vacation next Wednesday and should have details for you and a recommendation about different search parameters that will provide you with meaningful results.

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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225.342.5145
M

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Hello, Todd,

We retrieved and went through the boxes of records for the dates you requested, but we found very few documents related to your search. We attribute that to the program transitioning at that time away from LED to another state agency. We have requested an earlier set of records that we hope will provide you with a more useful and representative sampling. I am away at a conference this week, but please check back with me next week for an update. Thanks.

Ron Thibodeaux
Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE smartphone

From: Todd Feathers

Thank you very much, Ron.

Todd

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Hello, Todd,

We went through the archived records for July through December 2013 and found 487 pages of documents, including checks, correspondence and other records. They are available for review here or I can mail them to you. Our standard rate is .25 per page, so the total cost is $121.75. We are not set up to receive electronic payments, so you would have to mail a check (or money order) to Louisiana Economic Development at this address:

Ron Thibodeaux
Louisiana Economic Development
1051 N. Third St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Thank you.

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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225.342.5145
M

From: Todd Feathers

Ron,

Thanks so much for all your work on this. I'll be sending a check shortly for $121.75.

Best,
Todd

From: MuckRock.com


To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed a check for $121.75 to satisfy the fee associated with the attached public records request.

Thank you.

From: Ron Thibodeaux

Hi, Todd,

I have received your check and will put the documents in the mail this afternoon. Should I send to the MuckRock Foundation address in Somerville, or elsewhere?

--Ron

Ron Thibodeaux
Press Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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225.342.5145
M

From: Todd Feathers

The Muckrock address, please. Thank you so much for all the help.

Todd

From: Louisiana Department of Economic Development

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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