‘Thank you’ from Texas for driving Louisianians west
If football games determined a state’s success, Louisiana would’ve catapulted past Texas in recent weeks. Fortunately for Texas, that’s not the case. So, I write to say thank you to Louisiana’s elected officials for driving talented Louisianans to Texas!
Whether it’s the Pelican State’s overly complex tax code or extremely hostile legal environment and underperforming education system, it’s little wonder why job creators and seekers alike are fleeing Louisiana to take refuge in Texas. Not even Drew Brees or Joe Burrow can overcome these deficits. Despite growing up in Lafayette and coming to understand the deep roots of Louisiana’s Good Ol’ Boy System of big government and political cronyism, I still often find myself amazed at the new ways Louisiana’s elected leaders inflict pain on working families and job creators.
In the last three years, 68,000 Louisianans left the state for greener pastures. And, as many Louisiana expats have found, Texas has a large, lush pasture. The last few years have seen historic economic growth for Texas and other states across the nation. Meanwhile, Louisiana has attained the highest unemployment rate in the South, and its economy has shrunk for two of the last three years.
But, in true Louisiana fashion, the state’s leaders have opted to make it even more inhospitable to rather than seeking to enact the reforms necessary – like we have in Texas – to put the state back on track. Tax increases have caused Louisiana’s business tax climate to fall to 44th in the country. Add to that the billion-dollar government-backed lawsuits filed against Louisiana’s largest job creator, the oil and gas industry, and you have a recipe for Texas success.
Just this March, while on a recent visit to Louisiana, Texas Governor Greg Abbot touched on a point that is very true yet never discussed – Louisiana is indeed well-positioned for a strong economy, but its leaders and overreaching government are extinguishing its potential.
My story is an all-too common one. I love Louisiana. Its food, culture, sports teams and lifestyle are unmatched anywhere in the world, but I reached a point where those great qualities simply weren’t enough. I needed to be somewhere that would provide opportunity for my family. Louisiana can get there, but it needs to start making big changes and follow the lead of Texas in embracing leaders willing to take on the reforms necessary to correct course.
Until then, we’ll keep rolling out the welcome mat.
Kevin Roberts, Ph.D.,
Texas Public Policy Foundation