Friday, 13 July 2018 13:45

Louisiana still bottom feeding under Governor John Bel Edwards

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jbe bottom 7In the same week that CNBC ranked Texas as the state with the best economy in the nation, Bankrate listed Louisiana as the 4th worst state in the nation to retire. Analyst Taylor Tepper cited the state’s “very high crime,” as one of the reasons for the poor ranking. This makes sense because retirees usually do not want to move to a state where they will be robbed or murdered.

 

The city in New Orleans has the worst crime rate in the state. Currently, New Orleans has the highest murder rate per capita in the South and has historically competed for the dishonorable title of Murder Capital of the nation.

Since Louisiana has just released a large number of prisoners and no longer has the highest incarceration in the nation, it seems more than likely that the crime rate will rise significantly.

Another disincentive for retirees to move to Louisiana is the state’s high sales tax rate. Louisiana has the highest local and state sales tax rate in the nation, even though the rate was reduced in the recent special legislative session. In contrast, Texas has significantly lower sales tax rates and no state income taxes. This beneficial tax environment will certainly lure retirees to their state.

Texas is also a very pro business state and has been successful in poaching businesses from Louisiana for decades. In fact, in recent months, two Louisiana businesses, Smoothie King and Tidewater, announced that they will be moving their headquarters from our state to Texas.

All of these facts should give Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards an incentive to improve the business climate in Louisiana and engage in serious fiscal reform. Instead, the Governor is content to continue to grow state government, while shrinking the private sector. According to Governing Magazine, Louisiana has the 7th highest number of people per capita employed by state and local government.

Since becoming Governor, Edwards has added over 400,000 people to the Medicaid rolls, which will soon create more budget headaches for a state that is always teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff. Not surprisingly, efforts in the last legislative session to combat Medicaid fraud were opposed by the Edwards administration.

Clearly, Louisiana state government needs to contract, while the private sector needs a serious expansion. Sadly, just the opposite is happening in a state led by a liberal Democrat Governor.

Last year, Louisiana had the worst economy in the nation with the slowest GDP growth. In addition, Louisiana was one of only eight states in the nation to actually lose population.

These sobering statistics should be a wake-up call to the political leadership in Louisiana that the state needs a massive course correction. Instead, the Governor believes the state is on the right track and wants to pursue the typical Louisiana “politics as usual” approach.

While Louisiana and Texas are neighboring states, they are worlds apart, both in business and politics.

Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

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