Call for Change in Upcoming Election to Make Louisiana Competitive Again
BATON ROUGE, LA – Texas Governor Greg Abbott today joined with leading members of Louisiana’s business community and the Republican candidates for governor for a roundtable discussion highlighting Governor John Bel Edwards’ failed economic record and the need for change in the upcoming election to make Louisiana’s economy more competitive.
Held at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Pelican Chapter’s Baton Rouge campus, Governor Abbott was joined by ABC Pelican President & CEO David Helveston, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) State Director Dawn Starns, and Republican gubernatorial candidates U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone. Joining the discussion were business leaders representing major statewide employers including ExxonMobil and Turner Industries, the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, as well as local small businesses.
“Louisiana has all the makings of a strong business sector that should be fueling a robust economy,” said Governor Abbott. “However, the governor of Louisiana is holding the economy back by raising taxes and creating a hostile business environment. This is causing companies to flee, taking good paying jobs with them. It’s time for a change. Louisiana has two exceptionally qualified candidates running for governor in Representative Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone. Both of these candidates will put the needs of Louisianans first, and create an economy that provides high-paying jobs for all.”
“Governor Abbott has set an outstanding example of what Louisiana is capable of with the right leadership in place. We were honored to host him at the Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors today, where he listened to local employers share the struggles they face when doing business in Louisiana,” said ABC Pelican President & CEO David Helveston. “Governor Abbott also visited with our craft professionals and saw firsthand the career opportunities that exist for the hard-working men and women of Louisiana when the right business conditions are present.”
“Louisiana small, family owned businesses literally cannot afford four more years of John Bel Edwards, said NFIB State Director Dawn Starns. “He has raised taxes and will continue to raise taxes to fund larger government. Small business already operates on a thin margin and while optimistic about the outlook for the national economy, they have grave concerns about the Louisiana economy.”
From saddling Louisiana businesses and families with the largest tax increase in state history to driving down economic development projects, Governor Edwards’ term in office has been marked by broken promises and falling business and economic rankings.
In June 2016, Governor Edwards signed Executive Order 2016-26, making significant changes to Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), creating an unstable, unpredictable system causing a reported 72 percent drop in the number of ITEP-eligible projects from the previous six-year average: 684 new projects to only 192 new projects.
During Governor Edwards’ first year in office, Louisiana taxpayers experienced the largest tax increase in the country: $1.5 billion in new taxes, a 16.4 increase. His increases in the state sales tax have made Louisiana the second highest in the nation for the average combined rate of state and local sales tax at 9.46 percent.
Governor Edwards has heavily favored the trial lawyer lobby – which includes some of his campaign contributors – over Louisiana businesses, threatening both state and local lawsuits against oil and gas companies. The total impact of these excessive torts is estimated to cost Louisiana’s economy more than $1 billion per year and more than 15,000 jobs.
In Governor Edwards’ first year in office, Louisiana’s ranking in Chief Executive’s Best States for Business plummeted 30 spots: from 7th place in 2015 to 37th place in 2016. Similarly, Louisiana fell five spots in the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate rankings: from 39th in 2016 to 44th in 2019. In 2017, Louisiana had the worst economic performance of all 50 states and was one of only three states where the economy shrank; while the country’s economic output rose 2.1% nationwide, Louisiana’s economy shrank 0.4% in 2016 and again by 0.2% in 2017, according to U.S. News & World Report.