Baton Rouge, La. – The Louisiana business community is united behind six strategies for creating a more prosperous Louisiana. The new Coalition for A Stronger Economy (CASE) launched today with 61 statewide organizations, chambers of commerce, trade associations, and civic groups representing nearly every corner of Louisiana. More groups are expected to join CASE in the weeks ahead.
Instead of throwing solutions against a wall, it is time for a strategic plan. These business and civic groups are leaning forward with a unified approach that lays the foundation for a smarter government and a stronger economy.
The Coalition for A Stronger Economy (CASE) recognizes that the 2015 elections come at a pivotal point. There are fundamental issues that still must be addressed to take Louisiana to the next level. Leaders note: “We are proud to call Louisiana home and look forward to working with elected officials to ensure the next generation has even more reasons to do the same.”
The CASE urges candidates and public officials to take concrete action in six strategic areas:
1. Accelerate growth in the private sector.
- Private-sector job creation and diversification of the state’s economy should be advanced through proactive recruitment and retention activities that include data-driven, competitive incentives.
- Government at all levels should seek to reduce regulations on the private sector, favoring limited government and a free-market approach.
2. Adopt a pro-growth tax code.
- The state tax code should be nationally competitive and drive economic growth.
- The tax structure and administration should be simple and efficient for businesses and citizens alike.
- Local reliance on state support should be rightsized in line with best-practice states.
3. Transform state budgeting to allow for prioritization of spending.
- Statutory limitations that prohibit the prioritization of state spending should be reviewed, reformed, reduced, or eliminated where appropriate.
- The cost drivers in the state budget must be addressed, reducing the need for more taxpayer dollars year after year. This includes long-term changes to state retirement plans, laws that are smart on crime, risk management reforms, and others.
4. Develop Louisiana’s workforce to promote individual prosperity and a healthy economy for the future.
- All students in preK-12 schools should be provided with the foundation for success through high standards, accountability, and choice.
- Demand and performance should drive an innovative, responsive education system from pre-K through higher education.
- Louisiana’s institutions of higher education should be efficient and empowered to be market-responsive.
- Federal, state, and local workforce training efforts should be aligned, coordinated, and leveraged to meet the needs of workers and industry alike.
5. Prioritize infrastructure to sustain economic growth.
- Taxpayer funds intended for state transportation and infrastructure should be invested accordingly.
- Areas of economic growth should be prioritized with strategic investments for urgent improvements, including large-scale capacity projects.
- Infrastructure should be defined comprehensively with appropriate emphasis on multi-modal solutions.
6. Improve Louisiana’s legal climate to be fair, efficient, and accountable.
- Frivolous lawsuits – including such litigation by public bodies – should be discouraged, preserving a fair and efficient system for real claims and real victims.
- Transparency and citizen access should be hallmarks of the legal system.
The diverse groups within CASE plan to emphasize the strategies within this Agenda that are most relevant to their members and regions, leading with specific policy ideas and advocacy in the months ahead in accordance with their unique organizational missions. At the same time, the 61 groups are unified in urging elected officials to take action in all six areas to continue to move the Louisiana economy forward and pledge to coordinate efforts to see the CASE Agenda enacted.
The CASE Agenda and signatories are online at www.labi.org/CASE. Relevant reports and research from CASE organizations on the six strategies will be added to the site on an ongoing basis.
“Business and citizens across Louisiana are ready for a strategy that meets our state’s challenges without sacrificing economic growth. Today, LABI is proud to stand with dozens of leaders across the state to jointly identify solutions – not only to the problems of state government but also to our economy – that move all of Louisiana forward. We believe the new Legislature and Governor must seize the opportunity and take concrete action in these six areas to build a stronger economy, create jobs, and bring prosperity to the state for years to come.” – Stephen Waguespack, President, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
“Louisiana is at a critical juncture. The only way we are truly going to position ourselves for the future we want for our state is to work together toward shared goals. From CABL’s perspective this agenda provides a framework that will help move Louisiana forward and demonstrates the broad support and collaboration that is ready to go to work to achieve that goal.” – Barry Erwin, President and CEO, Council for a Better Louisiana
“The CASE Agenda sets the stage for fixing Louisiana’s chronic budget problem and the Committee of 100 is pleased to play a role in outlining a menu of tax reform options that will contribute to the fix.” – Mike Olivier, CEO, The Committee of 100 for Economic Development
“Louisiana faces opportunities that are generational in nature with the potential to provide high-paying jobs and productive careers for thousands of our citizens. How well the state’s diverse interests address the challenges associated with this growth will be a test of our resolve, and the CASE agenda provides a thoughtful pathway to follow as we work on these critical issues.” – Dan S. Borné, President, Louisiana Chemical Association/Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance
“The CASE platform is a clear and concise handbook that will boost economic prosperity in Louisiana.” – Chris John, President, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association
“Louisiana is emerging as the national leader for economic growth in the manufacturing and petrochemical sectors. We also sit atop abundant natural resources both offshore and onshore. However, one thing stands between our state and a bright future. We must elect business-friendly candidates in the 2015 political elections that truly understand the need for tort reform. Businesses can only thrive if they can operate without constantly looking over their shoulder in fear of more lawsuits and unnecessary burdens that jeopardize our state’s growth potential.” – Don Briggs, President, Louisiana Oil and Gas Association
"NFIB is proud to sign on to the CASE Agenda because it embodies what our small business members believe are keys to moving Louisiana forward. We must proactively seek pro-business policies to retain and grow the small and family-owned businesses that make the backbone of the Louisiana economy strong and vibrant." – Dawn Starns, State Director, National Federation of Independent Business—Louisiana
“The Bossier Chamber is proud to work with our partners across the state as one voice to candidates and elected officials. The six CASE strategies will lay the foundation for economic growth and individual prosperity in the years ahead, and we urge leaders to take action in 2016.” – Lisa Johnson, President and CEO, Bossier Chamber of Commerce
"The Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region is proud to join such a broad coalition of business organizations in their commitment to the 2016 CASE agenda. The need for us to continue to grow our economy and support a free enterprise system that is reflective of the realities of a competitive global economy cannot be overstated. CASE’s pivotal platform ensures that Louisiana will keep moving forward." – Paul Flower, Chairman, Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region
“It is critically important for the future of Louisiana that the next governor and legislature work with the business community to adopt a pro-growth tax code and transform the state budget structure to allow for appropriate prioritization of spending. Our organization supports the 2016 CASE Agenda and we look forward to being a part of the team to work with our elected leaders to implement these strategies.” – Deborah Randolph, President, Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce
“The business community of Louisiana is now speaking with one voice via the CASE agenda. GNO, Inc. looks forward to working with our business partners across the state and our elected officials to advance priorities that will support and grow Louisiana’s recent economic momentum." – Michael Hecht, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans Inc.
"We have unprecedented opportunities for job growth in Louisiana. It is imperative that we place an active focus on the CASE agenda and get our state's policies congruent with its opportunities." – Todd Murphy, President, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce
“As President and CEO of LEDA, I support CASE and the strategies for improving Louisiana. Significant and lasting enhancements to workforce development, infrastructure, business climate and our education system are vital to the continued success of Lafayette Parish, Acadiana and Louisiana. I look forward to working with newly-elected leadership at all levels of government to implement these strategies.” – Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of Lafayette Economic Development Authority
“Committing to the six strategies for a stronger economy will mean more jobs for more families. Only by prioritizing issues like workforce development and transportation infrastructure can Louisiana reach its full potential of regularly being one of the fastest growing states in the south and nation. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas; it’s time to accelerate.” – Jason El Koubi, President and CEO, One Acadiana
“The strategies outlined begin Louisiana’s conversation with its next governor. With a clearly stated plan for economic growth, we hope to enter into a collaborative partnership aimed at propelling Louisiana into continued success.” – Brenda Bertus, CEO, St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation
The 2016 CASE Agenda Signatories (as of Sept. 14)
- American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Louisiana
- Associated General Contractors of Louisiana
- Baton Rouge Area Chamber
- Blueprint Louisiana
- Bossier Chamber of Commerce
- The Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region
- Central Chamber of Commerce
- Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce
- Chamber Southwest Louisiana
- Committee of 100 for Economic Development
- Council for a Better Louisiana
- Crowley Chamber of Commerce
- East Feliciana Chamber of Commerce
- East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce
- Greater New Orleans Inc.
- Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce
- Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce
- Jeff Davis Chamber of Commerce
- Jefferson Business Council
- Jefferson Chamber of Commerce
- Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Louisiana
- Lafayette Economic Development Authority
- Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce
- Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association
- Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
- Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association
- Louisiana Chemical Association
- Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance
- Louisiana Home Builders Association
- Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association
- Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association
- Louisiana Motor Transport Association
- Louisiana Oil and Gas Association
- Louisiana Oil Marketers and Convenience Store Association
- Louisiana Propane Gas Association
- Louisiana Pulp and Paper Association
- Louisiana Regional Leadership Council
- Louisiana Restaurant Association
- Louisiana Retailers Association
- Minden South-Webster Chamber of Commerce
- Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce
- National Federation of Independent Business – Louisiana
- New Orleans Chamber of Commerce
- North Louisiana Economic Partnership
- Northshore Business Council
- Northshore Legislative Alliance
- One Acadiana
- Pelican Institute for Public Policy
- Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry
- River Region Chamber of Commerce
- South Central Industrial Association
- South Louisiana Economic Council
- St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce
- St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation
- St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce
- Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce
- Youngsville Chamber of Commerce