[StBernard] EDITORIAL: Daily Comet praises Governor's aggressive economic development efforts

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri May 18 21:26:56 EDT 2007

EDITORIAL: Daily Comet praises Governor's aggressive economic development efforts

Periodically, the press office will publish editorials and columns that feature Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's work in various areas.

Daily Comet: Good show, Louisiana
Published May 18, 2007
View the article online <http://www.dailycomet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070517/OPINION/705170303/1018/OPINION02>

Although St. James Parish didn't end up with the $2.9 billion to $3.7 billion steel plant being built by German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp, Louisiana and local officials have a lot to be proud of.

Unlike her predecessor, who took a disinterested view of investment in Louisiana, Gov. Kathleen Blanco lobbied for concessions and traveled to Germany to woo the steel plant here.

In the end, Alabama got it, but a close second is worthy of celebration.

After all, Louisiana still seems new to the notion of going out and actively recruiting companies to relocate here.

The fact that St. James made it to the final cut, though, speaks volumes about how far our state has come.

St. James and the Alabama site were two of 67 potential sites in 20 different states.

The German company basically had its pick of places for its plant, which will support an estimated 2,700 full-time workers and make necessary another 29,000 temporary construction jobs.

Louisiana cobbled together a $400 million package of site preparation and infrastructure improvements to try to land the huge project.

Alabama put together an equally impressive package.

Ultimately, some sources close to the negotiations have said, the cost of electricity gave the edge to Alabama.

Had Louisiana tried to make its package any more generous, it would have taken 22 years for the state to see any benefits, according to U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon's office.

Melancon, D-Napoleonville, was hopeful throughout the process that our area was strong in the running and it turned out to be.

The fact that we missed out on this opportunity offers a chance for reflection and even some muted celebration.

As Melancon said, "There's other companies. I just don't think we need to give everything away on one. ... I'm optimistic other things will come along."

Thanks to the harrowing process that the steel plant provided, our economic-development officials should be better prepared for the next potential taker.

Meanwhile, the site that had the Germans so excited is still in St. James Parish and will probably see some development in the near future.

We missed out on this project, but the fact that we made it so far is encouraging and should be a great preparation for next time.

Editorials represent the opinions of this newspaper, and not of any one person.


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