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Government Cooperation with Business Helps Louisiana Lead in the Economic Recovery and Rank Sixth Overall
Louisiana has taken a very aggressive, targeted approach to improve its business climate over the past five years, and those efforts are clearly paying off. Louisiana ranked sixth overall among the Top States for Doing Business - the same spot that the state held in the 2011 survey. Louisiana also ranked in the top five in several key categories. Most notably, the state ranked first for its cooperative state government and second for both its incentives programs and as a state that is leading in the economic recovery.
Area Development Magazine Special Presentation (Fall 2012)
 
Top States for Doing Business Full Results: 2012 Top States for
Doing Business Survey
»

OVERALL RANKINGS
2012

1.  Texas
2.  South Carolina
3.  Georgia
4.  Alabama
5.  North Carolina
6.  Louisiana
7.  Tennessee
8.  Indiana
9.  Mississippi
10.  Oklahoma

2011

1.  Texas
2.  Georgia
3.  Alabama
4.  South Carolina
5.  Indiana
6.  Louisiana
7.  North Carolina
8.  Tennessee
9.  Mississippi
10.  California

2010

1.  Tennessee
2.  Texas
3.  South Carolina
4.  Alabama
5.  Georgia
6.  Indiana
7.  Mississippi
8.  North Carolina
9.  Virginia
10.  Oklahoma

CONSULTANTS COMMENTARY
Winning States Offer Low Taxes, Generous Incentives, and Fewer Regulations
Eric Stavriotis, Senior Vice President, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle
States With Deep Pools of Skilled Workers Come Out on Top
Scott Redabaugh, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle
Some of the steps that Louisiana has taken to improve its business climate include eliminating a host of business taxes, creating a variety of innovative and aggressive incentive programs, and introducing top-notch work force training with its FastStart™ program, one of the reasons Louisiana ranked third for its work force development programs. "We also have done a much better job marketing our state, and we are putting a lot more attention on business retention and expansion than we ever have before," says Stephen Moret, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development.

Part of the acknowledgement for Louisiana's cooperative state government is due to its customized approach in working with companies. Case in point was the state's success in landing a new $10 billion gas-to-liquids complex for South African-based Sasol, which is set to start construction in 2013. Louisiana used a GIS tool to identify land that could be assembled to create a site to meet the company's unique requirements. That assistance helped Sasol cut four to six months off of its development schedule. In addition, the state created a custom incentives package specific to the company's needs.

"When you have a project of that scale, it is a massive undertaking. So for Sasol, having the ability to work very closely with the state, which included a number of different departments, has been a huge selling point for Louisiana," says Moret.

The fact that Louisiana has emerged as a leading state in the economic recovery is due in part to the state's strong energy sector. However, over the past five years, Louisiana also has been successful in attracting a number of new projects across a variety of sectors from manufacturing to healthcare. "We're really seeing growth in six to seven major sectors right now," says Moret. For example, the state's digital media and software development sector is booming thanks in large part to a very attractive tax credit that is available to firms in that industry. "We also have the best recruitment and training effort program in the country to go along with that. So the future is bright for more growth in that sector," he adds.

 
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