GNO, Inc. works to establish and preserve policies that create a more favorable, competitive, and reliable business climate in Greater New Orleans and drive long-term job growth and wealth creation for its citizens.
Healthy economic growth for our region is GNO, Inc.’s top priority. As such, we have developed a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to ensure that local policies support, rather than undermine, our current economic growth.
Each year, GNO, Inc. focuses on a select handful of policy initiatives in order to more effectively drive meaningful impact in the areas of highest priority. To that end, we have developed our 2019 State and Federal Legislative Priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
Long-term, we have developed a set of recommendations span the following 12 policy areas:
Tax Reform – Individual and Corporate
Promoting a simple, fair, and efficient tax system that is easily understood as highly competitive.
Louisiana collects less individual income taxes than 38 other states and less corporate income taxes than 43 other states. However, higher nominal rates and greater complexity make Louisiana appear more expensive and burdensome than it actually is. GNO, Inc. supports the calling of a limited Constitutional Convention to begin in 2020 to address Louisiana’s fiscal and structural issues.
Tax Reform – Sales and Property
Envisioning a more streamlined, consistent, and productive system for sales and property tax collection.
Inconsistent collection systems and exemptions across Louisiana’s 64 parishes place an uncompetitive burden on businesses and preclude the collection of significant tax revenue, including property taxes from the 19% of households that pay nothing today.
Working to stabilize state and local budgets, while increasing flexibility and encouraging a more private-sector approach to prioritizing spending.
Only 12% of Louisiana’s budget is deemed “discretionary”, resulting in frequent cuts to critical initiatives and institutions that support and propel our economy, like healthcare and higher education. Without the ability to prioritize the budget or unlock additional funds, the state government is unable to invest in the state’s greatest needs in any given year.
Supporting incentives that create permanent jobs and infrastructure and sustain economic growth momentum.
Louisiana has experienced unprecedented success in economic development over the past decade. With job creation the key to job, GDP and tax growth, now is the time to recommit to targeted incentives that create jobs and spur innovation across the state, like our Digital Media Incentive, Angel Investor Credit, and R&D Credit.
Fighting for autonomy and long-term funding for higher ed institutions while encouraging performance transparency and centers of excellence.
Over the past decade, Louisiana has instituted greater spending cuts to higher education than any other state in the country. Ranking 15th in the nation for higher ed institutions per capita, (limited) available funding is spread too thin and set up to reward enrollment rather than performance.
Implementing innovative and long-term workforce solutions to prepare for, sustain, and capitalize on the state’s significant projected economic growth.
Louisiana currently stands to create over 250,000 new jobs by 2025. To enable this growth, we must establish and enforce education and workforce success metrics, expand training and apprenticeship programs, and support sector partnerships that will help employers find the skilled workers they need to propel their businesses.
Helping to identify new resources to support Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure and enhance its air connectivity.
Without new and innovative funding and support resources, Louisiana’s underfunded transportation infrastructure will struggle to support its booming economy and urban centers and risks physically constraining future growth. Future investments must also consider the potential impacts to human and natural environments to preserve safety, quality of life, and business activity.
Coastal Restoration and Resilience
Combatting coastal erosion to secure and stabilize our land, property, and way of life.
Louisiana has a Coastal Master Plan that demonstrates how to avoid the loss of up to 1,750 square miles of wetlands over the next 50 years. The integrity and continuity of this evidence-based plan must be protected, and resources earmarked for coastal restoration and infrastructure, including initial funding provided by the RESTORE Act, must be appropriately and effectively deployed.
Rethinking the state’s retirement benefits system for longer-term viability and limited liability exposure.
Louisiana’s current defined benefit plan for public sector employees has resulted in an unfunded accrued liability of approximately $20B, which must be paid down by 2029 but will continue to grow in the meantime. Moving new state employees to an alternative structure can limit the state’s liability exposure while still providing fair benefits for employees.
Working to restrict frivolous lawsuits against Louisiana employers to improve and safeguard the state’s positive business climate.
An overly litigious climate is impeding companies’ greater investment in their Louisiana operations. We must acknowledge and address the unusual local policies that are allowing for government overreach and driving up litigation costs for local businesses, especially those in the energy industry.
Supporting efforts to reduce incarceration rates, ensure fair sentencing, and support successful re-entry into Louisiana’s workforce.
Facing the highest incarceration rate per capita in the nation, Louisiana enacted smart reforms during the 2017 legislative session that will help reduce our prison population. However, further improvements to our criminal justice system are needed.
Promoting proper vetting of legislation to ensure policy decisions are well-informed and accurately reflect a policy’s ROI.
Reforms to some of Louisiana’s current administrative processes—including last-minute bill release and lack of funding transparency—will improve the state’s ability to produce legislation that is well-vetted, appropriately prioritized, and beneficial for both the state and its industries.
Recent Public Policy Wins
GNO, Inc. has worked to both protect job-creating tax incentives and to implement measures aligned with its policy recommendations and priorities. This has led to numerous, notable achievements, including the following pieces of legislation signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards:
Signature legislation to renew and improve the angel investor tax credit and to restore the R&D incentive for small businesses.
Coastal Restoration & Resilience
Passage of the 2017 Master Plan and 2018 Annual Plan for coastal restoration, along with legislation to expand the authority and outcome-based contracting of key coastal protection agencies.
Criminal Justice Reform
A compromise criminal justice reform package projected to reduce Louisiana’s prison population by 10% and save the state more than $250M over the next decade, with a majority of these savings to be reinvested into programs aimed at reducing crime and providing victim assistance.
Legislation to preserve fee autonomy for the higher education management board.
GNO, Inc. also works at the federal level to support and advance the following advocacy efforts:
- National efforts to reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program
- Pro-growth tax policies that alleviate burdens on small businesses and simplify tax administration and collections
- Continued funding of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which invests in local job creation
- Pro-trade policies that support Louisiana’s robust export economy
- Federal investments in Louisiana’s infrastructure, from our extensive port system and national energy infrastructure, to roadways, bridges, and high-speed rail
- Policies that protect Southeast Louisiana’s military installations
- Federal investments in Louisiana’s advanced manufacturing facilities
- Policies that make Louisiana more resilient, including funding for coastal restoration
Public Policy Staff
Vice President of Policy
Research and Policy Analyst