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Louisiana governor gathers business leaders for summit

John Bel Edwards says the all-day event aims to identify the concerns of the business community and build partnerships.
Credit: AP
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at the opening of a special legislative session in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, June 18, 2018. Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, back right, and House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, look on. With time running out before hundreds of millions in cuts take hold, Louisiana lawmakers take one more stab at raising money for next year's budget, returning Monday for their fourth legislative session this year. Edwards called the House and Senate back to Baton Rouge for their 10th legislative session since the term began in 2016, with frustration mounting that the "fiscal cliff" is only two weeks away and attempts to reach a deal have repeatedly cratered. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, Pool)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Hundreds of business leaders are expected to converge on Louisiana's capital city for a summit called by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The Democratic governor says Thursday's all-day event aims to identify the concerns of the business community and build partnerships between industry and government officials. Panel discussions will focus on industrial tax exemptions, statewide tax policy and infrastructure.

RELATED: Louisiana governor announces Feb. 21 state business summit

Edwards, who will give a keynote luncheon speech, says 500 business officials have signed up to attend the event.

Across three years in office, the governor's relationship with industry has been rocky. He's clashed with business organizations over taxes and his unsuccessful proposal to raise Louisiana's minimum wage.

Louisiana's Republican Party is criticizing Thursday's business summit as a taxpayer-financed campaign event by a governor seeking a second term in this fall's elections.

RELATED: Louisiana GOP slams Edwards business summit as campaign ploy