2019 Elections Dashboard
As the voice of the regional business community, 1A communicates our organization’s public policy positions to Acadiana’s elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels, providing a unified voice on behalf of the more than 950 businesses and individuals we represent. During election seasons, 1A also works to ensure candidates for public office understand our region’s most critical policy issues.
VP, Policy Initiatives & Governmental Affairs
Public Policy Agenda (PPA)
1A is bringing together regional business leadership to focus on issues that will define Acadiana’s economic future.
In our Public Policy Agenda (PPA), we comprehensively outline our positions on policy issues we regard as vital to the success and prosperity of the Acadiana region, focusing on infrastructure, workforce and education, economic development, urban revitalization and development, and more.
2019 Statewide and 1A Region Elections
On October 12, citizens across the state will cast their votes for Louisiana’s governor, lieutenant governor, other statewide officials, state legislators, BESE members, and various constitutional amendments, with any needed runoffs taking place in November. With all state offices and legislative seats on the ballot, decisions made in the 2019 elections will shape the economic future of Louisiana.
IMPORTANT ELECTION DATES
Primary election: October 12
Early Voting: September 28 - October 5
General election: November 16
Early Voting: November 2 - 9
As the economic development organization for the nine-parish Acadiana region, 1A advocates for state policies that directly contribute to realizing our vision of making Acadiana one of the most high-quality, sought-after regions in the South for business and talent. With that vision in mind, 1A is engaging with statewide and 1A region candidates on several key issues during the upcoming elections, including:
1A's Statewide Policy Priorities
STATE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
Ensuring stable and sufficient funding for transportation infrastructure remains a challenge, as purchasing power of both the federal mechanism for transportation funding, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), and the state mechanism, the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), continues to decline in real terms. This problem, coupled with the state’s approximate $14.5 billion backlog in maintenance needs on our existing road and bridge system, and nearly $15 billion backlog in new Priority A and B megaprojects, is contributing to the worsening condition of Louisiana’s infrastructure, and hindering Acadiana’s economic competitiveness. Louisiana needs a 21st century transportation system capable of handling the substantial movement of people, goods, and services traveling within and through Acadiana.
At the state level, 1A has established a set of high-level transportation funding guiding principles, which include:
- Maximizing current transportation funding levels and programs
- Finding funding for transportation in other state budgetary categories
- Supporting a substantial increase in state transportation revenue (e.g., fuel tax) to make a meaningful impact on infrastructure improvement, with a focus on accountability
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Studies demonstrate that students who participate in high-quality early childhood programs achieve greater success throughout their education, which carries forward to long-term positive outcomes for the workforce and economy. However, in Louisiana, little more than half of students entering kindergarten are academically and developmentally ready to succeed. The Early Childhood Education Act (Act 3) of 2012 has helped to unify Louisiana’s early learning system and provide stronger standards and accountability, but more work is needed to ensure the system is sufficiently funded. 1A urges the Governor and Legislature to provide sufficient funding for early care and education in order to improve access to quality programs for working families.
RE-ENGAGING ADULT "COME-BACKER" STUDENTS
Approximately 49.5 percent of adults age 25+ in Louisiana – approximately 1.5 million adults – hold a high school diploma or less as their highest level of education. In other words, nearly half of Louisiana’s working-age population is not equipped for the majority of jobs in the 21st century economy. 1A supports innovative approaches to re-engaging these adults, particularly the 21.3 percent of Louisiana’s adults (650,000+) with some college but no degree, to reenroll and earn a degree or other credential of value.
- Compete LA: 1A supports the University of Louisiana System’s “Compete LA” initiative, which offers a variety of online degree programs and convenient class structures for adults with some college credit, along with personal coaches to help students navigate the process from re-enrollment through degree completion
- Student Debt Relief: Student debt is a major barrier to adult student reenrollment and degree completion, as an outstanding balance may lead to registration and transcript holds until the debt has been repaid. 1A supports efforts to mitigate student debt as a barrier to reenrollment and degree completion
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES
Over the last decade, Louisiana’s competitive business environment has generated strong economic growth and development in Acadiana, while also helping to cultivate a diversified economy. This pro-growth environment is due in part to the creation of a system of economic development programs, implemented within the last decade, that have spurred unprecedented levels of private investment in the state. To maintain and advance industry-based competitiveness and sustain Acadiana’s economic growth for the future, 1A supports the protection of key economic development incentives proven to generate return on public investment, including:
- Angel Investor Tax Credit – Encourages investment in early stage, small wealth-creating Louisiana businesses seeking start-up and expansion capital by providing a 25% tax credit on investments made by accredited investors
- Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive – Supports innovation and success of digital media and software development companies by providing a 25% tax credit on qualified payroll and an 18% tax credit on production expenditures
- Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) – Supports manufacturers who make a commitment to jobs and payroll in the state by providing an 80% property tax abatement for an initial term of five years and the option to renew for five additional years at 80% property tax abatement on a manufacturer’s qualifying capital investment related to the manufacturing process in the state
- Quality Jobs (QJ) – Supports companies, in eligible industries, that foster economic development and create well-paying jobs by providing up to a 6% rebate on gross annual payroll expenses, as well as a rebate of either state sales and use taxes on capital expenditures or project facility expenses
- Research and Development Tax Credit – Encourages businesses already operating in Louisiana to establish or continue research and development in the state by providing up to a 30% tax credit on qualified expenditures
STATE BUDGET & TAX REFORM
State budget reform
In recent years, Louisiana has repeatedly faced significant budget shortfalls, with the holes being patched by temporary fixes. 1A supports a balanced approach to stabilizing Louisiana’s budget and working toward long-term fiscal sustainability. A balanced approach will require cost-containing measures and budget reforms while maintaining essential funding for key priorities like pre-K-12 and higher education, health care, and transportation infrastructure.
State tax reform
1A urges our legislators to adopt policies that promote a growth-oriented tax system that is fair, easy to comply with, and competitive with other states. To achieve a simpler, more competitive tax code, we support the principle of broadening our tax base and lowering our tax rates. 1A strongly opposes tax measures that unfairly target the business community and harm Louisiana’s economic competitiveness.
2019 Lafayette Parish Elections
In addition to weighing in on state offices, Lafayette Parish voters will also decide on our community’s next Mayor-President, members of the newly established City and Parish Councils, members of the Lafayette Parish School Board, and various other parish leadership roles.
As the central business organization for Lafayette, 1A is committed to working with local officials on policies that help to achieve our community’s full potential for economic development, quality of life, and sustainable growth. To that end, 1A is engaging with local candidates on several key issues during the upcoming elections, including:
Find your City and Parish Council Districts
1A's Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) Policy Priorities
ACADIANA'S URBAN CORE AND GATEWAY CORRIDORS
Acadiana's urban core
Every region has a physical center that serves as a focal point for both residents and visitors. In addition to being a quality of life asset, the core is a primary measuring stick for how our region stacks up against other places. The quality of a region’s brand is defined heavily by the quality of its core. Our regional core – including the areas around Downtown Lafayette and UL Lafayette – is experiencing renewal and growth, with significant new investments underway or announced, and it will be important to keep building on this momentum.
Revitalizing Acadiana’s urban core will attract and sustain business and economic activity – generating more tax revenue without raising tax rates – and will diversify housing options that respond to evolving market preferences resulting from demographic changes across the country. We must drive the journey to revitalize our region’s core such that we provide an urban experience that is attractive to emerging generations of young professionals, along with companies seeking attractive amenities for their location and expansion. This work is well underway, with the Lafayette Comprehensive Plan, Downtown Action Plan, Oil Center Redevelopment Plan, and UL Master Plan already adopted. Much of our region’s long-term success depends on rallying around these plans to ensure their steady implementation.
Improving the condition of key gateway corridors – particularly the Evangeline Thruway and the University Avenue corridor – will give visitors, prospective new businesses, and residents alike a more positive impression of our community and will demonstrate a civic pride of place that complements our rich cultural identity. To that end, 1A supports the implementation of the University Avenue Corridor Plan and the Evangeline Corridor Initiative Plan and the investment of significant public funding with priorities identified in these plans. Dramatic improvements in our community’s key gateway corridors will enhance quality of life for our residents, positively influence the way visitors perceive our community and region, and support increased economic development and talent attraction for our area.
PlanLafayette is Lafayette Consolidated Government’s (LCG) long-range, comprehensive plan for the City of Lafayette and unincorporated areas within Lafayette Parish. It lays out a vision to accommodate and manage anticipated growth through 2035, outlining recommended policies and specific action items. 1A encourages Lafayette’s Mayor-President and Council members to maintain focus and accountability on the implementation of PlanLafayette, including funding and staff support. LCG should ensure the continued refinement of PlanLafayette through the five-year amendment process as well as the continued refinement of the Unified Development Code (UDC).
INCENTIVES WITH INTENT
Urban redevelopment policy has created an array of incentives to stimulate new investment in languishing urban districts. Essential to successful redevelopment is the judicious use of these tools for targeted outcomes rather than a generic approach to generic growth. 1A is engaged in the analysis and recommendation of local incentive policies that will spur urban revitalization and development.
- Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT): 1A supports the judicious use of TIF and PILOT incentives and will work with local government partners to develop local policy around prioritized and preferred criteria for TIF and PILOT proposals
- Historic Tax Credits: Historic buildings help to keep Acadiana in touch with our culture and heritage and provide unique opportunities for revitalization and development projects. 1A supports the continuation of federal and state Historic Tax Credit (HTC) programs, which encourage private sector investment in the rehabilitation and preservation of historic buildings
- Opportunity Zones: The Opportunity Zone (OZ) program was established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur long-term private sector investments in distressed areas. 1A is working with partners to promote investment in Acadiana’s 25 OZ census tracts and supports the adoption of policies that align state and local incentives to support development in Opportunity Zones
CITY-PARISH CHARTER TRANSITION
Following the consolidation of the City and Parish of Lafayette in 1996, the City-Parish Council structure has led to certain representational inequities: City issues have been decided by elected officials with substantial constituencies outside of the City, and many Parish issues have not received the focus they deserve from a Council that spends a majority of its time on City matters. To address this structural flaw, 1A supported the December 2018 ballot proposition to amend Lafayette’s City-Parish Charter to create a separate City Council and Parish Council. 1A encourages LCG officials to ensure this Charter amendment is implemented smoothly and efficiently with input from a knowledgeable and inclusive group of stakeholders
REGIONAL DRAINAGE SOLUTIONS
The historic flood of August 2016 produced 20 - 30 inches of rainfall across South Louisiana in just a few days, resulting in more than $10 billion in damages to homes, vehicles, businesses, and even resulting in loss of life. Experts have indicated that capacity-building around monitoring and modeling can improve regional resilience in the wake of these events, and local officials throughout Acadiana are working together to address the need for additional data to adequately address our region’s stormwater and flood-risk management needs.
In addition to developing a hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) model for the region, 1A also recommends advancing regional stormwater retention / detention projects throughout the region, including those recently identified by the Acadiana Planning Commission (APC) for funding.
1A's Lafayette Parish School Board (LPSB) Policy Priorities
With the passage of Act 1 in 2012, Louisiana made a bold choice to provide district and school leaders with more authority to manage schools. The new law curbed the ability of school boards to interfere in the day-to-day operations of schools, limiting their influence in the hiring and firing process. Additionally, it required employment-related decisions to be based on performance, effectiveness, and qualifications, rather than seniority. These reform measures are grounded in national best practices and a “what-works” approach. 1A believes Louisiana should protect policies that empower superintendents, principals, and other school leaders with increased management discretion.
K-12 CAREER DEVELOPMENT
1A supports efforts to strengthen career and technical education (CTE) and other programs that prepare K-12 students for high-wage, high-demand jobs.
- Jump Start: 1A supports robust region-wide implementation of the Jump Start initiative, Louisiana’s innovative CTE program that requires students in the program to attain industry-promulgated, industry-valued credentials while in high school
- STEM initiatives: 1A supports legislative and local district efforts to increase graduates in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to meet the ever-growing needs of employers. We also support efforts to increase the participation of women and other underrepresented populations in STEM programs
- Dual enrollment: 1A also supports increasing access to dual enrollment courses across the region. Dual enrollment allows students to earn post-secondary credit while still in high school, strengthening preparation for college and career
1A believes now is the time to address the significant backlog of Lafayette Parish school facility needs, which lost a key funding source after a prior millage began to gradually roll off the books starting in the 1980s. Our support of this issue has emphasized the following principles: focus on eliminating temporary classrooms; limit expenses through simple, cost-effective construction methods; and provide transparency in how funds are spent, maintaining accountability to taxpayers.
To maintain and advance industry-based competitiveness and sustain Acadiana’s economic growth for the future, 1A supports the protection of key economic development incentives proven to generate return on public investment, including the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP). ITEP supports manufacturers who make a commitment to jobs and payroll in the state by providing an 80% property tax abatement for an initial term of five years and the option to renew for five additional years at 80% property tax abatement on a manufacturer’s qualifying capital investment related to the manufacturing process in the state.
1A is committed to engaging our local government partners, including the Lafayette Parish School Board, on the importance of ITEP to Louisiana’s economic competitiveness.
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1A Elections Programming
As the fall elections approach, 1A is hosting a series of programming to provide Acadiana’s business community with opportunities to engage with candidates. Join us to meet the candidates and hear their views on key issues facing our community:
- Candidate Meet & Greet – Lafayette City and Parish Councils
Tuesday, August 27, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
- Lafayette Mayor-President Forum
Wednesday, September 18, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Acadiana Center for the Arts
- Lafayette Parish School Board Candidate Forum
Monday, September 23, 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Acadiana Center for the Arts
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