The state Board of Commerce and Industry granted $185 million in property tax exemptions for manufacturers earlier this week. The round of exemptions were the first since Gov. Jeff Landry removed a job-creation requirement for companies participating in the state’s lucrative Industrial Tax Exemption Program. The Louisiana Illuminator’s Wesley Muller reports

Taking the lion’s share at $127.6 million is ElementUS Minerals’ industrial waste recycling project. … The total project will include 10 buildings, machinery, equipment and labor valued at an estimated $850 million. In exchange for that investment, St. John the Baptist Parish will forgo about $12.7 million in property tax revenue each year for the next five years. The company will then have the chance to renew the deal for an additional five years. It’s unknown how many jobs the project might create, if any. 

A 2017 investigation by the Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate explained how companies have received hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax exemptions while decreasing the number of employees. 

Unpaid caregiving does not show up in traditional economic measures. But new research from the National Partnership for Women and Families shows this crucial care is valued at more than $1 trillion a year and is being performed overwhelmingly by women. The Partnership’s Katherine Gallagher Robbins and Jessica Mason explain:

We find that each person 15 and older in the U.S. averages nearly 245 hours caring for and helping family, friends and loved ones each year, including things like getting their children ready for bed, watching a niece after school, or taking an older neighbor to the doctor. Two-thirds (65 percent) of this unpaid care work is done by women, who spend an average of nearly 296 hours each a year on caregiving, equating to more than $643 billion in unpaid care work – $4,650 in unpaid care work each year for each woman in the U.S.

The United States has made scant progress in addressing health inequities over the last two decades, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Axios’ Caitlin Owens explains what’s thwarting progress and outlines recommendations on how to overcome these barriers: 

While major changes to the health care system over the past two decades, including the Affordable Care Act, have improved care for people of color, other changes have slowed down progress, the report said. Important components of the ACA have also been blocked from implementation, it noted. … The report specifically calls out the U.S. insurance system for its lack of universal coverage and the wide differences in how Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance pay for care.

The New Orleans charter school “experiment” 

For nearly two decades, all public K-12 schools in New Orleans have been run as privately operated charter schools. As state Sen. Joseph Bouie writes in a guest column for The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate, an effort that was aimed at sparking innovation and experimentation has now been enshrined as a permanent feature of state law thanks to Gov. Jeff Landry’s decision to sign Act 334.

For 19 years, the state Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and charter proponents ignored the law’s “experimentation” mandate. Act 334 will now enable charter operators to proliferate despite adverse audits, flagging student test scores and independent research by Stanford University and others on New Orleans’ charter schools. In every instance, data demonstrated that the Orleans Parish “experiment” was flawed, illegal, discriminatory and a failure. … Any talk of “evidence-based practices” is a myth. The only “evidence” shows the opposite: Charter schools, whose private operators cannot be held accountable for failure, are not a viable approach.

Programming note

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Number of the Day

$4,650 – Annual value of unpaid care work each year for each woman in the U.S. (Source: National Partnership for Women and Families)