Lawmakers reach bipartisan agreement on plan to attract new businesses

Small business recruitment
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:09 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - More jobs could be heading to Louisiana. At least that is what two lawmakers say would happen if their bill gets the green light.

Two lawmakers from different parties have come together to try and create a financial incentive to do a better job recruiting companies to come to Louisiana to grow their business. In an effort to stop Louisiana from losing business to other states, House Bill 795 by State Rep. Thomas Pressly (R) looks to lure companies here.

“So, we have an incentive that we’re putting forth that will be paid over three years to try to get them to come to Louisiana as an additional incentive for innovating right here in our state,” said Rep. Pressly.

The Louisiana Department of Economic Development already offers financial incentives, but some lawmakers believe more can be done.

“This is a federal grant that’s given to different companies that have gone through the SBIR process. What we’d be doing is matching that to a certain level with state dollars,” Rep. Pressly added.

Transcending party lines, Rep Matthew Willard (D) of New Orleans co-authored the bill and has been working closely with his Republican counterpart.

“The good thing about that bill is that it allows the Regional Economic Development Alliance to make recommendations directly to LED,” said Rep. Willard.

According to Willard, there would be eight regional groups representing all 64 parishes’ needs.

“So, in the New Orleans/Jefferson area you could have projects that relate to the battery and solar power. In the Lafayette area it could be about renewable feedstocks for chemical and oil and gas production,” Rep. Willard continued.

It is the stem jobs these lawmakers are after, especially since most of the state’s younger employees occupy those jobs and typically leave the state to pursue a career elsewhere.

“Yea, I think that’s a big part of this is, you know, these stem related jobs are generally more related to younger folks who are doing start-ups and that’s something where I agree with you, we got to be able to keep our best and brightest in Louisiana and create jobs right here at home,” Rep. Thomas added.

This bill is not getting any pushback from lawmakers so far or from any outside groups. Unless something changes in the bill, this one should have an easy time making it to the governor.

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