Site Selection rated Louisiana’s economic development efforts No. 2 in the nation in its ranking of Top Competitive States for 2014.
Louisiana is suffering from a $1.6B budget deficit, in large part due the state's tax credits give-a-way programs to attract business in the state. Last week, S&P downgraded five Louisiana colleges amid budget turmoil. Late last month, investors pulled out of a major bond deal for LSU due to the budget uncertainty, which included Moody's lowering the university's credit outlook.
Not that the outlook for the state is getting better. Since the state has used one-time money, invaded dedicated funds, it no longer has resources it can use to help balance its budget. According to some, the budget woes will continue through the following year, in which a $1.9B deficit is feared.
Yet, despite the horrible budgetary news, Louisiana and other recent ranking news such as Louisiana ranking dead last for working moms, the Site Selection rating is surely welcomed.
Here is a press release from the Jindal administration, announcing the new rank:
In its evaluation of economic development performance by each of the 50 states, the magazine once again singled out Louisiana for its record of new and expanded facilities, high capital investment and substantial job creation. Following a fourth-place finish in 2013, Louisiana’s new ranking places it in the top seven for the sixth consecutive year.
Governor Bobby Jindal said, “From day one of this administration, we have made economic development our top priority. We have worked hard to attract and retain good jobs that will keep our sons and daughters here in the Louisiana workforce instead of forcing them to leave the state to pursue careers elsewhere, and our hard work continues to pay off. This accolade from Site Selection magazine reaffirms the great progress we have made in improving Louisiana’s economic competitiveness.”
Since January 2008, Louisiana Economic Development has secured significant economic development wins that are resulting in more than 91,000 new jobs and more than $62 billion in new capital investment in Louisiana. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana’s private-sector job growth since January 2008 ranks second best in the South and seventh best in the U.S.
LED Secretary Stephen Moret said, “This impressive ranking is a tribute to the professional, diligent efforts of the outstanding staff at LED; the strong emphasis this administration has placed on economic development; the consistent support of the legislature for our efforts; and strong partnerships with regional and local economic development groups, ports and utilities statewide. Last year was marked by major project announcements as well as significant progress with previously announced projects, including Benteler Steel/Tube at the Port of Caddo-Bossier, CenturyLink in Monroe, Crest Industries in Alexandria, Sasol near Lake Charles, Bell Helicopter in Lafayette, IBM in Baton Rouge, Danos in the Bayou Region, and GE Capital in New Orleans.”
Prior to 2008, Louisiana never ranked among the top 10 states in the U.S. in any national ranking of state business climates. Louisiana now places among the Top 10 states in five national business climate rankings: Area Development, Business Facilities, Chief Executive, DCI and Site Selection. Additionally, Business Facilities named LED FastStart® the nation’s best state workforce training program for the last five consecutive years, describing the program as “the gold standard for workforce training solutions.”
The Site Selection rankings calculate the total points a state-level economic development agency receives primarily based on the number of significant, new and expanded facility announcements. With a score of 408.5, Louisiana finished just a half-point behind top-rated North Carolina, which scored 409. Texas finished third at 406.