On the Right Track
Under the Edwards Administration, Louisianans no longer have to feel uncertain about the economic future of our state. The bipartisan plan that reduces the state sales tax for Louisianans from 5% to 4.45% reduces the net tax burden on the people of Louisiana by more than $550 million while still funding priorities and cutting spending.
The Louisiana unemployment rate is the lowest that is has been since 2008, and more Louisianans have jobs than ever before. With investment in workforce training programs, Louisiana has an improving workforce that helps attract and retain new business, contributing to our growing economy.
A recent economic impact study released by the Louisiana Department of Health and LSU’s Public Administration Institute found that, aside from providing health coverage for nearly half a million people in Louisiana, Medicaid Expansion by the Edwards Administration has generated $3.57 billion in economic activity, created 19,195 new jobs and saved the state $317 million. The study concluded that Medicaid Expansion has improved both the physical and fiscal health of Louisiana. Further, uninsured rates in 2017 fell to 11.4 percent among Louisiana adults compared to 22.7 percent in 2015 according to the 2017 Louisiana Health Insurance Survey.
Louisiana’s higher education institutions and TOPS will be fully funded for the second time in a decade. Higher education funding, which had been repeatedly cut in the prior administration, makes it more appealing for Louisiana students to stay in-state for college.
Through a bipartisan package of bills, Governor Edwards has fulfilled his campaign promise to end Louisiana’s title as the incarceration capital of the United States. Further, savings from Governor Edwards’ historic criminal justice reform measures have exceeded expectations this year. While these measures were predicted to save $6.1 million for the 2018 fiscal year, savings doubled and totaled $12.2 million. Louisiana will be able to reinvest the money usually spent on incarceration into programs aimed at better preparing individuals on probation and parole for re-entry into society, as well as help victims of crime and keep communities safer. Governor Edwards’ reform plan is modeled after other southern states that have seen reductions in both incarceration rates and crime making their states safer and saving taxpayers money.
Louisiana is also seeing state-wide coastal preservation and infrastructure improvement projects. Through 26 coastal projects, 13,164 acres are being benefitted and 317 miles of levee improved. Louisiana has invested more than $1.7 billion to improving the state’s infrastructure and, to date this totals 862 projects for a total of nearly 3,000 miles of since January 2016.
Under the leadership of Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s economy is on the right track. During the first quarter of 2018, the GDP in Louisiana grew at a rate of 2.3 percent while the national average was 1.8 percent. A faster rate of growth than 35 other states. While Louisiana has more stability now than it has in a very long time, there is still more work to be done. Louisiana legislators from both parties must continue to work together with the Governor to ensure future prosperity and continue the effort to Rebuild Louisiana.