A Contract with Louisiana

In 1994, after two years under the Clinton administration and decades more toiling as the minority party in Congress, Republicans decided they needed a plan to better communicate with the American people and detail the specific actions they promised to take if they assumed leadership in Congress in the upcoming elections.

They suspected their ideas would resonate with a country growing more conservative by the day, but they knew the President’s bully pulpit and rapport with the mainstream media made it difficult to get those ideas heard by voters around the country. They knew they needed a workaround. Thus, the Contract with America was born.

Roughly two months before the 1994 elections, Republicans released the Contract with America. This document promised specific reforms if Republicans were put in charge of Congress, including a balanced budget amendment, higher voting thresholds for tax increases, small business tax relief, ethics improvements and systemic reforms to the legal system, social security and welfare.

The document was well drafted, broadly distributed and resonated with the American people. The result was an electoral tidal wave where Republicans took back the majority for the first time in 40 years, winning 54 House seats and nine Senate seats. Two years later President Bill Clinton was re-elected in large part by rejecting his more liberal agenda and instead championing many of the reforms put forth by Republicans in the Contract with America.

Fast forward to today.

Many Louisiana voters are frustrated with where things stand but are somewhat lost on who to follow, what to believe and where to go for answers. A fiscal cliff narrative that pummeled us for nearly three years has been addressed, but our future is no less uncertain. Taxes and spending have gone up significantly since 2015, while wages, family income and our economy have struggled to find consistency and growth.

Medicaid is up roughly $4 billion in three years and now covers roughly 1.7 million of our people. Our transportation project backlog is more than $13 billion and our schools still rank at the bottom of most national categories. Nearly 27,000 people left Louisiana over the past year while our fellow southern states are seeing growth and business expansions. Louisiana needs a new plan in which our people can believe.

 

About Stephen Waguespack 23 Articles
Stephen Waguespack is the President and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI). As the state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturer’s association, LABI is the largest business advocacy group, representing more than 2,200 business members and 324,000 employees.

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