BATON ROUGE, LA (August 7, 2017) – Today the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) released the 2017 edition of the Legislative Scorecard highlighting the leaders who have a solid foundation in policies that promote economic growth.
This year's Scorecard details the votes taken on 21 measures that would affect the state's economy, employers and business climate. This report gives Louisiana residents an inside look at what happens in Baton Rouge and provides them with the information necessary to make informed decisions at the polls.
Each year LABI works with an engaged membership to determine the issues most important to the economy and subsequently develop an annual Program of Work that guides policy development and advocacy efforts in Baton Rouge. The criteria outlined in the Program of Work determines the weight each piece of legislation carries throughout the session and guides the final votes selected for the Scorecard analysis. The Scorecard not only attempts to hold legislators accountable but it also identifies legislators that voted to grow a skilled workforce, reform expensive governmental pension systems, and move toward marketplace fairness for Louisiana’s small businesses.
Consistent with the priorities of our member companies laid out in the Program of Work, throughout the 2017 fiscal session LABI championed bills to deregulate overly burdensome industries to align with national norms and advocated for market-driven wage policies, debunking myths with facts in a highly charged debate. LABI also continued to defend innovation and choice in K-12 education, stalled attempts to further erode a troubled legal climate and is proud to have been a part of a diverse coalition to support criminal justice reform legislation that reinvests in rehabilitation and re-entry to address this longstanding challenge for our state. These advocacy efforts are explained in further detail and reflected in the votes chosen for analysis in the 2017 LABI Scorecard.
Stephen Waguespack, LABI president and CEO stated, “The much-anticipated legislative session of comprehensive fiscal reform has come and gone. Few recommendations from the tax task forces were adopted and the session saw a flurry of new and unvetted concepts that caused confusion and left much to be desired in the way of actual reform. While the state’s economy has shown some signs of rebounding, we are still facing a $1.2 billion shortfall next year with consensus among leaders remaining just as elusive as before. It is important now more than ever that our elected leaders work together to find a reasonable solution that promotes economic growth and promotes the needs of taxpayers.”
Waguespack continued: “This year proved to be challenging but, as the Scorecard and legislative outcomes reflect, smart bipartisan reform can fix a broken system. Louisiana can reverse this downward trend.”
Overall, 17 “Most Valuable Policymakers” (MVPs) across Louisiana are being recognized for their perfect scores on major legislation that affected the state’s economy. Senators Bret Allain (R-Franklin), Page Cortez (R-Lafayette), Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City) and Representatives Mark Abraham (R-Lake Charles), Robert Billiot (D-Westwego), Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette), Patrick Connick (R-Marrero), Mike Danahay (D-Sulphur), Phillip Devillier (R-Eunice), Julie Emerson (R-Carencro), Tanner Magee (R-Houma), Blake Miguez (R-Erath), Greg Miller (R-Norco), John Stefanski (R-Crowley), Polly Thomas (R-Metairie), Jerome Zeringue (R-Houma) and the Speaker of the House, Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia). Each voted to prioritize growth in the private-sector economy on 100 percent of the legislation important to LABI and the state’s employers.
In total, there were six senators and 13 representatives who claimed the title of “LABI All-Stars,” scoring 90 percent or higher on the legislation selected for the Scorecard analysis. These legislators were strong advocates for advancing a platform of positive, pro-growth measures to improve Louisiana’s economic climate.
Also recognized in the Scorecard are the 23 additional “LABI Honorable Mention” legislators from across Louisiana who scored 80 percent or higher on bills selected for the Scorecard analysis. The votes cast by these legislators also served to challenge the status quo in state government and prioritize the state’s economy.
While over 900 bills and resolutions were filed across three legislative sessions, LABI analyzed only 21 votes in the House and Senate combined. The House averaged a score of 71 percent and the Senate averaged a score of 60 percent.
On November 16, 2017, at the second annual LABI Free Enterprise Awards reception, the LABI MVPs and All-Stars will be honored by LABI members alongside other businesses and individuals who have proven their exemplary commitment and contributions to their local communities and the state’s business climate. The recipients of LABI Honorable Mentions will also be recognized for their commitment to the state’s economy at the event. More information on the LABI Free Enterprise Awards reception can be found at https://labi.org/events/free-enterprise-program.
LABI encourages all Louisiana residents to visit https://labi.org/score-card to review this year’s report explaining LABI’s 2017 priorities, the outcomes of the recent fiscal session, descriptions of the bills used in the Scorecard analysis, the individual legislative scores and the detailed methodology behind the scores. Printable posters of legislative scores are also available by region and can be downloaded on the LABI website.
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About the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was organized in 1975 to represent Louisiana businesses, serving as both the state chamber of commerce and state manufacturers association. LABI’s primary goal is to foster a climate for economic growth by championing the principles of the free enterprise system and representing the general interest of the business community through active involvement in the political, legislative, judicial and regulatory processes. Find out more information at www.labi.org.