So, what’s nice for today in the realm of Louisiana Business News?
Press releases from New Orleans Bowl, Dress for Success, Prospect New Orleans and Small Business and Entrepreneurship and last but surely not least, Chanukah at the Riverwalk.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Ragin’ Cajun fans who want to attend the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 20 have the option of riding a charter bus from Lafayette.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association is coordinating several buses for the trip.
“We want to make it easy for our fans who can’t stay overnight. It’s also more fun, affordable and sustainable,” said Liz Landry, interim vice president for University Advancement.
“Any Ragin’ Cajuns fan can come along, not just alumni. We welcome students, parents and ‘alumni by choice’ to join us.”
Tickets for the bus ride are $50 per person and do not include a game ticket. Game tickets are available at ragincajuns.com/bowlcentral.
The buses will depart at 5:30 a.m. from the Alumni Center and arrive at Champions Square in New Orleans, where a deejay will play from8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome gates will open at 8:30 a.m. and the game will kick off at 10 a.m.
Buses will leave the Superdome 45 minutes after the end of the game to return to Lafayette.
He will officially become a member of the state’s highest court when he is sworn in on Monday, December 15. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on the second floor of the Caddo Parish Courthouse.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
The Krewe of Kringle is spreading their holiday cheer
to Dress for Success New Orleans this year!
Join in the fun - contributing funds to good causes and enjoy Santa's merry pub crawl and parade!
Pre-party for all registered Kringlers and parade-day registration starts at 6pm at Spitfire Bar on Decatur Street.
The Parade starts at 8pm.
Purchase your tickets at www.kreweofkringle.com.
PROSPECT NEW ORLEANS
The Prospect New Orleans Board of Directors has officially changed the organization’s status to a triennial, with the fourth iteration of the exhibition scheduled to open in fall 2017. Board leaders are confident that this transition from a biennial to a scheduled triennial will allow Prospect New Orleans to reach its full potential as a leading international art exhibition.
While board members are elated with the current success of Prospect.3: Notes for Now, they are excitedly looking forward to Prospect.4, which will coincide with the 300th anniversary of the city of New Orleans. Prospect New Orleans is thrilled to have P.4 positioned alongside this monumental tricentennial celebration as the exhibition continues to utilize New Orleans as a focal point for the conversation of international contemporary art.
“Prospect New Orleans has, in essence, been a “triennial” all along so it seems right to embrace the rhythm we know we can implement successfully,” said Brooke Davis Anderson, Executive Director.
RIVERWALK CELEBRATES CHANUKAH WITH GRAND MENORAH LIGHTING
Light Up the Night on the Mississippi River with the Return of Chanukah at Riverwalk. That is the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk along with the Chabad of Louisiana. Tuesday, December 16, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (lighting at 6:15 p.m. at the Spanish Plaza, 500 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans
In case of rain, the event will be moved indoors to the Riverwalk’s Food Court)
At the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk in celebrating the first night of Chanukah, presented by Chabad of Louisiana. The celebration begins at 5:30 p.m., with the Grand Menorah Lighting to begin promptly at 6:15 p.m. in Spanish Plaza. The free and open to the public event includes a live music concert by Israeli musical sensation, Yoel Sharabi, as well as a hot latke bar, dreidel house kid’s activity center, face painting and more! Event parking is available for $5.00 in the Hilton Parking Lot. For more information, email[email protected] or visit www.chabadneworleans.com/chanukah.
LOUISIANA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
As economic development leaders of the two largest regions in the state, we can agree with much of what was reported in your recent series, “Giving Away Louisiana.” Our Byzantine system of tax exemptions definitely has room for improvement and should be rigorously evaluated to ensure it is best serving the people of Louisiana.
But well-researched as the series is, we are surprised by what was not reported: first, that economic development incentives are only 4 percent of total exemptions; and second, that, overall, they are working well and are generating a substantial return on investment for taxpayers.
Ask the citizens of Louisiana what they want from their leaders, and you will regularly hear “more jobs” and “economic growth.” And in this regard, our current economic development system, tax incentives included, is doing remarkably well. The economy of southeast Louisiana has not only come back from the destruction and uncertainty of Hurricane Katrina — it is doing better than in decades.
Global companies like GE Capital and IBM are expanding here, bringing thousands of high-quality jobs. Other companies, like Globalstar, are relocating their headquarters from California to the north shore. Foreign companies, like Methanex, of Canada, and Agrigren, of India, are investing billions and creating thousands more jobs. And corporations that previously left, like Chiquita, have come back home. In fact, our super-region has earned more economic development wins than anywhere in the South over the past decade — three times more than Houston — and the state is approaching 2 million jobs for the first time in history. The result is going to be more diverse jobs, and a stronger and more accessible middle class.
Louisiana has gone from worst to first in key business rankings, in both perception and reality. Business Facilities now has us No. 1 in the country for business conditions. KPMG says we are the No. 2 place in the U.S. to start a company, and the publisher of Forbes called us “the economic turnaround of our lifetimes.”
Tax incentives play a vital role in this success. While projects are rarely determined solely on incentives, these programs do play a critical dual role of first attracting attention to a state that has historically been ignored, and second, of providing a difference in the final decision against stiff competition, like Texas.
To be sure, economic development organizations like LED, BRAC and GNO Inc. are entrusted with driving this growth in a responsible way that protects taxpayer funds and ensures a positive return. This occurs in a number of ways.
First, every discretionary incentive project undergoes a comprehensive financial and economic analysis to ensure it has a positive return on investment. Second, the state’s incentive programs that are enshrined in law are performance-based, meaning they are not earned unless the company produces the business investment and job creation. Finally, all discretionary projects are bound by legal contracts that require pro-rata repayment for any underperformance.
The Advocate series notes that many of the incentive programs have increased in expense. What was not said was that the public should expect the cost of programs like Quality Jobs to increase when the state is seeing growth in investment, and, yes, quality jobs. Simply put, it is an indication of success. Agreed, the articles are based on good research and make some excellent points. Some of our state exemptions should be redesigned. Moreover, our overly complex tax code should be simplified, with rates lowered for everyone.
But the larger story, of an economy that languished for 40 years roaring back to life, needs to be the primary focus. Over the next 10 years, as all of these job announcements come online, the economy of Louisiana is going to continue to diversify and grow. The last thing we want to do now is to take the legs out from underneath our state’s economy, just as it is beginning to run.
Smart incentives — along with pro-business reforms, robust workforce development and aggressive economic diversification — are creating a better Louisiana for everyone.
President and CEO
Greater New Orleans, Inc.
President and CEO
Baton Rouge Area Chamber