Site Selection magazine, a leading economic development pub, this week released its 2010 Top Business Climate Rankings, and Louisiana earned its highest ranking to date — improving to ninth best in the U.S. from 25th in 2009. It is the largest improvement of any state.
Site Selection has been ranking states for 18 years, with scoring based 50 percent on a survey of site selection consultants and corporate executives who make location decisions for major business investment projects and 50 percent on quantitative measures primarily linked to the national Conway Data New Plant Database of new and expanded business facility activity. Louisiana ranked seventh best on the executive survey.
“Louisiana, by moving up to ninth place in the overall Business Climate Ranking and up to seventh place in the Executive Survey Ranking, shows that it has done the hard work of putting together a top-notch economic development team and program,” says Ron Starner, general manager of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection. “Plus, LED has effectively marketed the state as a destination of choice for businesses. This could not have happened without the solid leadership of Gov. Bobby Jindal and Secretary Stephen Moret and their entire team of high-quality professionals. Leaders at the local and regional levels throughout Louisiana must also be credited for doing amazing work on the ground in local communities.”
“This terrific news is a reflection of Louisiana’s continued economic progress during a difficult national economic period,” says Moret. “Our dramatically improved ranking is in large part the result of recent economic competitiveness improvements in Louisiana, such as business tax cuts, governmental ethics reform, the creation of Louisiana FastStart and our focus on business retention and expansion, as well as our enhanced focus on small business development."
Moret, however, stipulated that the state would likely have climbed higher had the survey been more inclusive of recent projects. “We would have done even better if Site Selection had included all of our project wins from earlier this year. Apparently they inadvertently left out at least several dozen of the major business investment projects that were announced or in progress earlier this year. We expect those projects will be included next time around.”
MAY 20 This post by blogger CB Forgotston draws parallels between Gov. Bobby Jindal and two individuals he probably doesn't want to be aligned with: President Obama and former governor Edwin Edwards. CB says Jindal's trying to jack up the debt ceiling (an Obama play, according to CB) and buy votes from GOP leges who normally wouldn't go for that (an Edwards play, CB says).
MAY 20 Here's a post in the Baptist Message from an alumnus of Louisiana College. The author, Larry Burgess, calls on the leadership of the private school to take care of some pressing problems. Physical plant issues are critical and unaddressed, some faculty make so little they need government health care, and there is an atmosphere that does not encourage honest discussion, he writes. It's time to get things back in order, he says.
MAY 20 This post in Gambit tells of a benefit concert scheduled to raise money for the 19 people shot during a Mother's Day second line on Frenchmen Street in NOLA. Among them was Gambit blogger Deb Cotton, who spoke frequently about violence in the city and reported on the city's second line culture. Gambit's foundation, along with other NOLA non-profits, also is selling t-shirts to raise money for the victims.
MAY 20 Blogger Robert Mann is critical of the personal interest some legislators take in their work here, sharing the comments one NOLA solon made in explaining his decision to vote against a bill that would require people to stop discriminating against female workers. His wife might lose some salary, so he was going to have to vote against the equal pay bill, Conrad Appel said. Appel and everyone who heard him should have been ashamed, but they weren't, and that's what is wrong in that building, Mann argues.
MAY 20 American Press columnist Jim Beam writes about the budget again here, urging kudos for the House and its efforts to try to fix the budget as opposed to passing on a flawed and messy rubber-stamped document as it usually does. The Senate already is poo-pooing the effort, but instead Senators should be trying to find a way to improve it as well, Beam argues. He also has some predictions in here from LABI and CABL.
MAY 20 Here's a link to the photo gallery from Tulane's graduation this past weekend. Dr. John and Allen Toussaint played together and received honorary degrees. The Dalai Lama was so entranced by their performance he got up from his seat and walked across the stage to stand next to them. He even participated in a second line with his own personal, saffron-colored umbrella. To the graduates, he urged them to think about creating a peaceful, hopeful life and society.
MAY 20 This Picayune story questions the rhetoric of NOLA officials who say the city, aside from having a "murder problem," is safe. The talking points generally are that the criminals are killing each other, but everything else is OK. The police chief there says that even Lafayette is more dangerous than NOLA. But crime experts interviewed here say that NOLA's numbers indicate one of two things: either people are so used to violence they don't report it, or somebody's "fudging the numbers."
MAY 20 The Advocate's Mark Ballard writes about some of the background maneuvering that took place during the development of budget alternatives in the Legislature. From Rep. Joel Robideaux being called a "tax and spend liberal" to robo-call influence, Ballard lets us in on some of the work that happens behind the scenes but usually doesn't make it into the Advocate's daily coverage of the session.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.