I hope the new year is off to a great start for you and your family.
I wanted to send a quick note to make sure you saw this great article below from Forbes.com about Louisiana being America’s “new frontier for business opportunity.” Over the past five years, we have worked hard to make Louisiana the best place in the world to raise a family and find a job.
We overhauled our ethics laws, revamped our workforce development system, cut burdensome business taxes, and passed major education reform laws to give every child the opportunity to get a great education. Our work is paying off. The world is taking notice that Louisiana is open for business and we are quickly becoming the best place in the world for businesses to invest and create job opportunities for our sons and daughters.
We have more work to do in Louisiana, but this article by Forbes is proof that your efforts are making a difference.
Below is preview of the story, but you can click here to read the entire piece.
America’s New Frontier For Business Opportunity
By Adriana Lopez
They say that the view from the bottom is often the reason – the inspiration – for getting back up. For Louisiana, the view must have been coming from very low ground and looked overwhelmingly bleak, because the state has made a dramatic economic transformation over the recent years, after decades of experiencing a great outward migration of its population due to a notoriously poor business climate.
Now, Louisiana has become one of the most attractive states to do business across a wide spectrum of both traditional and burgeoning industries. This is in large part due to governmental reforms and economic development efforts that were executed in 2008, at a time when most states were pulling back on those efforts due to the beginning of the economic recession. In the past four years, the state has improved on all major business climate rankings, excelling on several lists among the top 10, and luring in dozens of economic development projects that are creating more than 63,000 jobs and over $28 billion in new capital investment.
For over two decades prior, however, Louisiana was perceived as having one of the poorest business climates in the country, and, subsequently, witnessed the lowest rankings across several business lists for it. As a result, Louisiana residents were fleeing away after high school and college in pursuit of better career opportunities elsewhere. In addition, business executives were not even considering Louisiana as an acceptable state to do business, as it had had a reputation for being one of the most corrupt states in the country.
In 2007, after an unsuccessful push for a comprehensive governmental ethics reform by a local business coalition, Gov. Jindal made it one of his top priorities in his gubernatorial campaign. When he went into office in early 2008, Louisiana was listed among the ten worst states in the country, based on the state’s governmental ethics laws on Better Government Association’s Integrity Index and The Center for Public Integrity ranking.
Within the first weeks of his term, Gov. Jindal called the legislature into special session in order to pass legislation on governmental ethics reform. This drastically improved the perception of the state and became the start for what would be a prosperous journey for Louisiana’s economy. It also subsequently lifted the state’s rankings to no. 5, up from no. 46, on the BGA’s Integrity Index and no. 1 by the Center for Public Integrity, who gave Louisiana a 43 spot jump.
One of the biggest issues that plagued Louisiana and the New Orleans region was its inability to adapt – effortlessly remaining indifferent to change and continuing to neglect its business, while losing several oil firms to Houston during the 1970’s and 80’s. With declining school systems and increasing corruption, the region was not able to compete with cities like Houston.
In the early 1980’s, a worldwide oil crash devastated the gulf coast, which was predominantly thriving on its petroleum industry at the time. Residents began to migrate out of the region in search for better opportunities. The state could not adapt to the economic changes facing the nation, and continued to suffer greatly as a result.
Now, with several industries flourishing simultaneously, financial incentives, workforce training programs, and an influx of both new and established businesses, Louisiana has been able to not only overcome a natural disaster, oil spill, and national economic recession, but has become one of the most competitive and prosperous states for business.
This success can be evidenced through a highly ranked business climate, low unemployment rate, and increase in the private sector that is securing more economic prosperity for Louisiana in 2013.