Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret issued the following statement on the impact of the proposed cut to the Mega-Project Development Fund:
"Thanks to policy reforms implemented by Gov. Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature over the last few years, we now have the strongest pipeline of mega projects that our state has ever had. Louisiana has been selected as a finalist state for 14 high-potential mega-projects, most of which will select a final site in the next two to four months. Collectively, these projects could produce more than 9,000 direct jobs and 16,500 indirect jobs, for a total potential job impact of roughly 25,500 new jobs in Louisiana. The companies involved are considering sites in virtually every region of Louisiana, including Lafayette, Shreveport/Bossier, Monroe, Alexandria, Southwest Louisiana, Baton Rouge and the New Orleans area.
"Although Louisiana will not win all of these projects, LED estimates that we will win at least half of them representing approximately half of the total job creation potential.
"Seven of these projects would represent huge expansions of existing Louisiana manufacturing facilities or corporate headquarters, and the remainder would represent huge new corporate investments in Louisiana.
"Unfortunately, today's action by the House Appropriations Committee puts all of these projects in jeopardy, especially those for which final site location decisions are anticipated in the next six to eight weeks, including projects considering locations in Alexandria, Bossier City, Lafayette, Monroe and New Orleans. Even if the committee decision is reversed, Louisiana's competitive position already has been weakened for all of our current prospects because the committee vote calls into question the Legislature's commitment to the existing funding for the Mega-Project Development Fund. Additionally, the proposed cut would eliminate any possibility of securing the future of the GM-Shreveport facility as an automotive assembly facility."
Additional HB1 amendments to LED's budget adopted by the House Appropriations Committee would result in a significant reduction in funding for small business development centers, business retention programs, regional economic development organizations, international trade promotion, and workforce training, as well as the marketing of Louisiana for new business investment.