Governor Jindal has missed an important point. Education and economic development are inseparable. Offering tax incentives to corporations to locate in Louisiana falls on deaf ears when corporate executives know that your population lacks the basic education to function effectively in a modern workplace.
What good is it for business to receive a tax break to come to a state when they cannot find a workforce capable of performing the necessary jobs to make a profit and grow the business?
Education is the key to improving the livelihood of a state’s residents and revitalize its economy. As resident’s economic lives improve through increased income so too will the state’s coffers through taxes. The two feed into one another.
Supporting education on all levels is similar to fertilizing soil. It is a necessary expense of resources for a much greater reward. Ask a farmer; failure to invest the preparing the soil results in wasted efforts and no benefits.
Louisiana hovers near the bottom of educational attainment among the rest of the nation. We occupy this position because of a signal lack of appreciation for education and the advantages it provides. It is a worthy “investment” if that is the operative word.
Some may argue that our problem stems from an extreme deficit which must be mitigated in order to balance our budget. We have to cut expenses. That may indeed be true…but why just education? In addition to reasoned cuts, perhaps our efforts would be better spent determining where all the money has gone?
Louisiana is not Kansas Toto. Louisiana has a myriad of different revenue streams which, if properly managed, should make us one of the wealthiest states in the union.
Consider, what other states can boast of: Oil and gas reserves & exploration, the Port of New Orleans, the City of New Orleans, tourism, lumber, sulfur, sugar, salt, cotton, soybeans, corn, cattle, seafood industry, manufacturing, chemical plants, oil refineries, etc.
Louisiana is a rich state!! The only possible explanation for our economic demise is government incompetency. Either that or corruption. You Choose!
How to cure the situation? Easy…put EVERYTHING on the table!
The first order of business is to have a non-partisan, non- government group of retired accountants and state auditors gathered with the task of taking the entire budget apart and determining where the real waste exists. Stick them on the top floor of a hotel with room service and don’t let them out until finished. Drinks are on the house…they’ll need it! Then publish their findings.
Next, we need pass only ONE constitutional amendment. This would remove all other budget protections in the constitution. That opens the legal door for implementing the cuts the above group of accountants determine should be cut. Let the blood flow!
Then, look into government retirement for elected officials. Too many have milked this system by taking on a variety of jobs and retiring from different areas of government receiving multiple retirement packages. Multiple retirement checks should not be allowed. Also, no retirement credit for part-time work. Teachers don’t get it, state employees don’t get it…why do elected officials get it? Additionally, not all elected officials should even be granted retirement benefits. That would keep them from staying in government.
These changes would take courage…something apparently lacking in government today.
Louisiana cannot continue to merely cut higher education and healthcare to meet budgetary shortfalls if we hope to offer our children opportunities…if we desire to keep them in Louisiana. We need a comprehensive approach to solving this problem. Governor Jindal has demonstrated a complete lack of ability in this regard. But… he still has some time to salvage his tattered reputation.
What say you governor???? Do you have the courage to take a real stand? Will you take a slice out of some of Louisiana’s sacred cows?