Press Releases

January 26, 2024

The Economic Development and Fiscal Policy Council

About the Council’s Work
The Economic Development and Fiscal Policy Council was established at the request of
Governor-elect Jeff Landry to identify the problems that are keeping Louisiana from reaching its full economic potential. Led by Ben Bordelon and Mandi Mitchell, this council considered input from private sector leaders about what changes could unleash the economic potential that exists in Louisiana, which would result in economic prosperity and improvements to the quality of life of all Louisianans.

Our tax code is too complex, antiquated, and is impeding economic growth.
The southeast is currently experiencing economic growth unlike anything this region has ever seen. People and businesses are moving to the tax and regulation friendly southeast in droves. Unfortunately, Louisiana has largely been left out of this bonanza. While our total tax burden is competitive with our neighbors, our tax structure is not, ranking 40 th in the latest Tax Foundation rankings. While it is a complex undertaking, it is possible to quickly end this trend and join our neighbors in prosperity. We must look to other southern states and identify where they get it right and where we get it wrong.

Recommended Solutions
1. Begin the process of phasing out corporate and personal income taxes, understanding this will be a process based on growth and spending restraint.
2. Complete the phaseout of the corporate franchise tax.
3. Begin a cooperative effort with local governments to eliminate the inventory tax and subsequently the inventory tax credit.
4. Reduce the severance tax rate using a multiyear phasedown approach.


LED should be refocused on creating the conditions for economic growth from within and look to vital organizations such as c100 and chambers of commerce for guidance and input.

The council emphasizes a comprehensive evaluation of LED’s economic development model and departmental structure, including a review of programs, partnerships, staffing levels, and funding. We urge the development of a long-term economic development strategic plan including a renewed target industry strategy. LED must serve as the lead in business and talent attraction and retention; however, it is imperative that LED balance its focus on attracting out of state businesses with ensuring Louisiana-grown businesses are set up for success. LED should identify where our southern neighbors get it right, and where we get it wrong. The preservation and adequate funding of LED FastStart are highlighted as essential for maintaining competitiveness. Finally, to strengthen our state’s economic competitiveness, we must improve our infrastructure. As such, there is a call for creative strategies to identify stable revenue streams for investments in development-ready sites and for the construction and maintenance of Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure.


Streamline ITEP process across the state.

The Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) is a crucial tool, but the current process is
cumbersome and lacks uniformity among parishes, causing uncertainty that discourages
investment. The recommendation is to establish a streamlined local approval process by creating one-stop shops within each parish. The automatic feature for local governments should be retained. To enhance certainty, LED and the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry should establish statewide uniform parameters for ITEP project evaluation. Despite the reduced 80% exemption level, ITEP continues to provide significant revenues for local governments, and maintaining this level is recommended based on a competitive analysis commissioned by LED.

Recommended Solutions
1. Retain 80% exemption level while streamlining the local approval process.


Examine dedications and trust funds along with the budget as a whole
This year, Louisiana’s state budget is a little over $22 billion, up from $15 billion just ten years ago. In that time of rapid budget growth, Louisiana has seen lethargic growth in population and GDP compared to neighboring states. We neither recommend deep cuts nor increased spending, but we do recommend restraint that takes population and economic growth into account.

Recommended Solutions
1. Evaluate statutory dedications and trust funds and phase out those that are no longer essential; require periodic performance audits and sunset reviews.
2. Evaluate the balance of spending between state and local government on local needs and evaluate and adjust local government autonomy accordingly.
3. Review all board and commissions and consolidate those with overlapping responsibilities.
4. Explore revising expenditure limit to base it on economic factors that tie state budget growth to important factors such as population and inflation.


Invest in human capital and technological infrastructure
Our future depends on the choices we make today. Among those choices are the investments we make in our people and state, and how we make those choices. Two of the biggest challenges facing Louisiana are the digital divide and the lack of workers trained with the skills needed in today’s economy.

Recommended Solutions
1. Continue thoughtful investment into bridging the digital divide by 2029.

2. Create a seamless talent development pipeline, ensuring our people are prepared for the workforce they’re entering.
3. Deploy resources to expand workforce and talent development efforts to include work- based learning, paid internships, and apprenticeships as early as high school.
4. Ensure that those reentering society from prison are prepared to contribute to society by receiving workforce training.
5. Eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing barriers that hold back those who wish to find work or launch entrepreneurial ventures.