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Editorial: Jindal administration steadily increases business rankings

Last Modified: Friday, July 19, 2013 4:59 PM

Of all of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s accomplishments in his five-plus years of leading Louisiana’s government, arguably none surpass the state’s steady climb in business rankings.

That was never more clear than earlier this week when Pollina Corporate Real Estate ranked Louisiana No. 14 nationally in a business climate study, the state’s highest rating in the 10-year history of the study.

In 2008 when Jindal first took office, Louisiana ranked 40th in Pollina’s analysis.

Pollina ranks states on 32 factors, including evaluation metrics such as business tax burdens, workforce training programs, workers compensation costs, economic development incentives, energy costs, marketing programs and state economic development efforts.

According to a news release from the governor’s office, Louisiana climb up the ladder was credited to the elimination of several harmful business taxes; the creation of LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group; the creation or enhancement of targeted business incentive programs, such as the Retention and Modernization Tax Program and the enhanced Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive; the launch of LED FastStart; LED’s enhanced website; economic development marketing campaigns; and improved perceptions of Louisiana among top site selection consultants and corporate executives.

‘‘When we took office, we made expanding and increasing career opportunities for the people of Louisiana our top priority,’’ Jindal said in the news release. ‘‘By eliminating burdensome businesses taxes, overhauling our governmental ethics laws, reining in government spending, streamlining our workforce development system and enacting landmark education reforms, we have established Louisiana as America’s new frontier for business opportunity. Every day, more and more companies are identifying Louisiana as the best place for business investment and job creation. Still, we will not rest until Louisiana is the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family.”

Polina also cited the state’s Louisiana Economic Development as the top performing economic development agency along with Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Utah.

The Pollina ranking is the latest feather in Louisiana’s pro-business climate. The state ranks among the nation’s top 10 in area development, business facilities and site selection.

State lawmakers during Jindal’s tenure also deserve to bask in this limelight as does LED Secretary Stephen Moret, Jindal’s point man when it comes to luring businesses to locate or reinvest in the state.

And analysts need look no further than Southwest Louisiana to see the coming bountiful harvest of such labor, with $47 billion worth of capital investment planned over the next few years in the petro-chemical field. Our areas natural resources, exceptional workforce and peerless pipeline network factored in landing these projects as did the state’s vastly improved pro-business stance.

Since January 2008, LED has secured economic development projects that are creating more than 63,000 new jobs, more than $28 billion in new capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state.

Louisiana earned State or Co-State of the Year designations from Southern Business & Development in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and Business Facilities has honored LED FastStart as the nation’s No. 1 workforce training program for the past three years in a row. Site Selection named LED the best-performing state economic development agency in the nation in 2011.

About Pollina Corporate Real Estate

Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. is a full-service brokerage and consulting firm, representing corporations in real estate matters on a national and international basis. The firm has advised Fortune 500 clients and startup ventures in commercial real estate matters since 1981. For more information, visit http://www.pollina.com.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

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