Policy Priorities for a Stronger Region
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. Notable recent policy achievements include the following pieces of legislation signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards:
- Economic Recovery & Development – Provide businesses support as they recover from impact of COVID-19
- Tax Structure – Simplify the tax code and eliminate Louisiana’s personal and corporate income taxes
- Infrastructure – Find creative solutions to fix our roads and support modern transportation
- Workforce – Strengthen workforce and address employment shortages
- Early Childhood – Support early childhood education
- State Retirement – Modernize state retirement plans
- Legal Climate – Build upon efforts to improve Louisiana’s legal climate
- Criminal Justice – Identify community-driven and fiscally responsible reform targets within the criminal justice system
- Coastal Restoration – Support and champion Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts
Reform for Louisiana’s Future
While Louisiana has an abundance of natural resources and homegrown talent, we remain stubbornly at the bottom of most quality-of-life rankings. Our financial challenges are unresolved despite numerous attempts to remedy problems. It has become clear that our state is structurally grounded and cannot move forward without fundamental changes.
With this in mind, Greater New Orleans, Inc. has developed Reform for Louisiana’s Future. The platform includes 10 interrelated planks and identifies answers to some of the most challenging issues facing our state. These solutions are the product of several years of discussions with stakeholders, interviews with key leadership from varied political backgrounds and extensive research of national best practices.
But it is not enough to have the right ideas – it requires the right people. None of these reforms will be easy. But they are critical to creating a Louisiana where our kids and grandkids can stay and prosper.
We encourage you to share these ideas with others who have a genuine commitment to solutions and the long-term future of Louisiana.
Learn more on the Reform for Louisiana site.
Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance
GNO, Inc. believes stability, availability and affordability of flood insurance is a critical component of a thriving business environment. To that end, GNO, Inc. established the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance (CSFI) in 2013, in response to implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act, which created unaffordable and unsustainable National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premiums across the country.
CSFI advocated for passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in 2014, with support of both causes (cosponsored by 235 House Members, supported by 306 Members and 72 Senators).
Since inception, CSFI has worked with more than 250 organizations, across 35 states, including homebuilders, chambers of commerce, lawmakers, and consumer advocates. CSFI continues to advocate for efficient implementation of and successful long-term reauthorization of NFIP and believes the following principles are critical to sustainable flood insurance:
- Risk Assessment – Enhancing the way we assess and communicate risk will protect communities and the NFIP over the long-term and help to close America’s flood insurance gap. Congress and FEMA should use state of the art technology to accurately and simply communicate flood risk
- Affordability – Premiums must remain affordable, and people who played by the rules at the time they built or bought their flood policy should not be penalized.
- Mitigation – A comprehensive approach to reducing flood losses before a disaster occurs is a more effective means to reducing economic loss and protecting taxpayers’ interests. Federal, state, and local governments should prioritize investments in mitigation, as should home and business owners
- Participation – Adopting policies that encourage more people to carry flood insurance will ensure a greater understanding of flood risk and that individuals and communities recover more quickly and fully following a flood event
Head to the CSFI website for more information and to sign up for updates.
Federal Policy Priorities
NEW: 2021 Federal “Money Map” – An analysis of how Greater New Orleans priorities align with federal support initiatives
GNO, Inc. 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
GNO, Inc. Policies
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.
- Budget Reform: 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.
- Economic Development: 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.
- Higher Education: 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.
- Workforce: 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.
- Transportation: 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.
- Retirement Reform: 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.
- Legal Reform: 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.
- Criminal Justice: 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.
- Administrative Reform: 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.
Louisiana Youth Jobs Tax Credit
The Louisiana Youth Jobs Tax Credit is a tax credit program for businesses that hire eligible youth between the ages of 16 and 24. The main goal of this program is to prioritize disadvantaged youth by providing workforce opportunities that yield tangible skills and income.
A business can be eligible for a credit up to $1,250 for each youth in a full-time position (at least 32 hours/ week) and $750 (at least 20 hours/week) for each youth in a part-time position hired on or after July 1, 2021. The eligible youth must work at least three consecutive months at the business to qualify for the credit.
The tax credit can be carried forward, but is not refundable.
This credit program is capped at $5M/year and will sunset on December 31, 2025.
The youth must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- ✓ At least eighteen years old, is no longer in school, and does not have a high school diploma, HiSET or GED credential, or high school equivalency diploma
- ✓ A member of a family that is receiving benefits from any of the following:
- Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Kinship Care Subsidy Program
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program
- ✓ Has served time in jail/prison or is on probation/parole
- ✓ Pregnant
- ✓ Parent
- ✓ Homeless
- ✓ Currently in or was in foster care, extended foster care, or the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services
- ✓ Veteran
- ✓ Child of a parent who is currently incarcerated or was released from incarceration within the past two years
- ✓ Lives in public housing or receives housing assistanceAny business of any industry and size is eligible to receive the credit. The business must employ the eligible youth for at least three consecutive months to qualify for the credit. A business can not apply this tax credit to an employee in which the business receives any other incentive for the job creation or hiring of the employee.
Businesses can apply for this program through the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
Louisiana Work Opportunity Tax Credit
The Louisiana Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a tax credit program for businesses that hire re-entrants in work release programs. This program aims to incentivize businesses to hire re-entry workers and, ultimately, reduce recidivism rates by providing meaningful workforce opportunities.
A business can be eligible for a credit in the amount of 5% of the total wages paid to the eligible re-entrant for twelve consecutive months after the re-entrant’s release from prison. The cap per business per eligible re-entrant is $2,500.
The credit is non-refundable, but can be carried forward. This tax credit program will sunset on June 30, 2027.
To be eligible, the re-entrant must be an inmate or former inmate who was released on or after January 1, 2021 and is actively participating in a work-release program. Acceptance in the work release program requires passage of a drug test and a conviction that does not include:
✓ A sex offense
✓ A crime of violence
✓ A habitual offender
Any business of any industry and size is eligible to receive the credit. A business can not apply this tax credit to an employee in which the business receives any other incentive for the job creation or hiring of the employee.
Businesses can apply for this program through the Louisiana Department of Revenue and must certify through the Department of Public Safety and Corrections that the business employed an eligible re-entrant in an eligible job for twelve consecutive months following the release of the participant from prison.
Louisiana criminal justice reform passed by Legislature
Bipartisan legislation signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards