Letís make our state friendly to all businesses - even the little guys
By Allen Lottinger - May 17, 2007
So we didnít get the German steel mill that many were hoping would locate upriver near Convent and provide good jobs to some 2,700 people. Our state government went out of its way to attract it. But the Mobile area won.
Louisiana offered ThyssenKrupp AG some $1.7 billion in incentives but that was not enough.
What the company wanted would have amounted to more than $2 billion. And, after all, we can only go so far with taxpayer money to help a private business. By many estimates, the $1.7 billion far exceeded what it should have been.
Maybe we should concentrate on providing a good atmosphere for all businesses - the small ones as well as the giants. We would rather have many small ones than one big one anyhow. Then, if one goes under, we donít lose as much.
Our legislature should enact laws with that end in mind. We could lower start-up taxes for all new businesses to help them get a foot in the ground. We should reduce red tape and paper work to help them concentrate on serving their customers and produce a profit which will allow them to stay here.
We should also help get their normal operating costs down. It is said that one objection ThyssenKrupp had to locating in Louisiana was the high cost of electricity which would have cost them $5 million a month more in Louisiana than in Alabama. Entergy Louisiana should certainly take note of that and the amount of revenue that company lost with its price structure.
And here we are in the middle of the oil patch which produces more natural gas than any other state in the nation to power the production of electricity. The fact that Alabama can beat us in that regard is not understandable.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco was disappointed in losing the plant but feels there are other possible new businesses interested in the same location. We should certainly open the door to them all to come in and take advantage of our natural resources and the international ports along the greatest river in the country.
And we should revamp the infrastructure of our state to make it easy for businesses to operate and make a profit in Louisiana. That is their bottom line.
It should be our bottom line, too. After all, we could be one of the wealthiest states in the nation with all we have to offer if we make our state business friendly.
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