[StBernard] Why Louisiana still won---big
westley at da-parish.com
Mon May 21 22:52:44 EDT 2007
Why Louisiana still won---big
A column by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
ThyssenKrupp's decision last week to select Alabama over Louisiana as the site of its next North American facility was a disappointment, but it was far from a setback. In fact, the company's selection process pushed Louisiana into the international business spotlight and reaffirmed our position in the global economy.
Just consider the fact that ThyssenKrupp considered 67 sites and 20 states for its new facility. In the final round of decision making, Louisiana was one of only two states still standing. Louisiana did not land this particular project, but we gained a tremendous amount of respect and caught the eyes of countless investors. In fact, at least five companies are interested in the very site that ThyssenKrupp pursued in St. James Parish.
I know we will remain competitive and land the "big ones" of the future, and that our tremendous progress will continue.
Not too long ago, Louisiana was left out of the game as other Southern states scored major economic development projects. Just four years ago we may not have even known about the ThyssenKrupp project, let alone been a finalist for the historic investment. I promised to be the governor who put Louisiana on the economic development map, and these days, Louisiana is pretty hard to miss.
In fact, Southern Business & Development includes Louisiana in multiple categories of its annual "Top Ten" rankings of Southern states in economic development categories. Lafayette is identified as one of the top places for the creative class and Lake Charles is named among the best places for aerospace and aviation. Two of our waterways, the Red River and Ouachita/Black River systems are listed among the best inland waterways of the South. Northwest Louisiana is honored as one of the top ten areas for emerging growth industries. And for the second year in a row, Economic Development Secretary Michael Olivier and I have the honor of being named among the top ten people who made a difference.
Louisiana has moved from the sidelines to the starting line-up in the field of business players. During the past four years, we have transformed Louisiana from a state often overlooked by site selectors to one at the top of their lists. And when that is not the case, we invite ourselves to the party and force them to take notice.
Our bold economic development agenda is achieving extraordinary success. We changed the business climate in Louisiana by cutting taxes on businesses, investing in workforce development, working with local communities to identify attractive sites for investors and aggressively pursuing new investments.
We achieved momentum that even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita couldn't stop. In fact, since the storms we've landed more than $6 billion in new investments. During my term as your governor, Louisiana has experienced more than $19 billion in new investments and gained more than 13,000 new jobs.
These numbers show Louisiana is on a firm track to continued prosperity. We are currently pursuing hundreds of great leads and will continue to be a significant player in the global economy.
The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation
Louisiana's Fund for Louisiana's People
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