Too often, initiatives called "economic development" are just more spending and more intrusive government. The hard-working taxpayers of this state, struggling to provide for their own families, put the dollars in the Louisiana Treasury; but these taxpayers are always considered last when a new multi-million dollar "economic development" project is introduced that calls for higher taxes and more bureaucracy. This "economic development" is not real, and it does not work.
True economic development, the kind that will create good job, means providing business incentives to those who can create the jobs, eliminating red tape and bureaucracy, granting tax credits to employers, and getting out of the way of entrepreneurship. True economic development means simplifying an overly complex tax system and staying on the cutting edge of emerging technologies, so we can compete nationally. We need to make Louisiana a business-friendly state, and economic growth will follow. Let us create the opportunities here so Louisianans don't have to leave home to find them.
Government involvement in economic development is legitimate only when it provides the infrastructure that will return to the taxpayers the dollars they have invested; it is legitimate when government and the people are true partners in development. This government involvement does not mean simply hiring more state workers when the need does not exist, nor does it include introducing special projects with questionable economic benefit. It also does not include making costly investments that benefit only a few.
Any investments in economic development must provide positive cash flow, transparency, and the opportunity for ongoing public evaluation. At no time should the citizens be "out of the loop." The government and the people should be partners in development, and citizens should feel they matter in the process.
Our tax code must be simple, fair and not oppressive to individuals or businesses that would consider bringing opportunities to Louisiana.
In short, lasting economic development will occur when citizens can keep more of their own money to invest, expand businesses, and have the means to purchase the goods they desire. More businesses will come to Louisiana when taxes are not outrageously high and the right incentives are available. Businesses will come when they are rewarded, not punished, for success. I will initiate and support this kind of economic development.