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Louisiana Association of Business and Industry discuss 2020 legislative session goals

February 13, 2020
Originally posted on KPLC

There will be a lot of new faces in the legislature this year and one group hopes that will mean changes during session.

Stephen Waguespack, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Insustry, or LABI, came to Lake Charles, Thursday, to share the group’s priorities for this year.

Lowering insurance rates tops that list of priorities.

“We have the second highest auto insurance rates in the country behind Michigan. That hurts families trying to make their ends meet but it also hurts small businesses trying to make their ends meet. Trucking, timber, agriculture. Anyone trying to move a product around the state they can’t get commercial auto insurance which is forcing them to leave the state,” Waguespack said.

A priority Tim Stine, CFO for Stine Lumber, said he’s excited about.

“It’s not only affecting businesses but it’s also affecting every day citizens with high insurance rates, especially automobile. We think we’ve got a lot of candidates who are really wanting to make a change and bring some sanity back to Louisiana,” Stine said.

Some other priorities LABI officials hope to work on include improving the state’s early education programs in hopes of making a lasting impact on our children.

“Make sure we’re not just putting additional dollars in the system but also going towards high quality delivery so we can make sure we give those kids the right chance they need when they go into the school system. We think that’ll be a huge piece in helping our workforce needs we know we have,” Waguespack said.

Waguespack said rounding out their top three goals is making progress on infrastructure projects across the state.

“We know we have to get serious about infrastructure, that’s finding additional dollars and resources and putting them into projects that matter. Right here in Lake Charles, we know we have to fix that bridge. We have to do it as soon as possible,” Waguespack said.