That’s the conclusion of a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis which was released today. Of the five Gulf Coast states, Louisiana is the trailer where GDP growth figures from the first quarter of 2017 are concerned.
And given these numbers come a year into his term, they do represent a reflection of the state’s economic performance under John Bel Edwards.
The Commerce Department report found that in Q1 2017, not only did Louisiana had the worst GDP growth of a Gulf Coast state, only North Carolina among southern states did worse. At only 1% percent GDP growth, Louisiana is far below the national average and continues to fall behind neighboring states in the region:
- Texas (3.9% GDP growth)
- Alabama (1.9% GDP growth)
- Florida (1.4% GDP growth)
- Mississippi (1.3% GDP growth)
- Louisiana (1.0% GDP growth)
Obviously, the prime culprit for this would be the continuing sluggish performance of the oil and gas industry. But Edwards hardly escapes blame for that – after all, his policies have been hostile, to put it mildly, to oil and gas. When you build a cabal of the state’s most aggressive plaintiff lawyers and hire them on illegal contingency contracts to gin up lawsuits by local governments blaming oil and gas for coastal erosion, a legal theory which has already been thrown out of federal court, it’s hardly a surprise to see that plan have a chilling effect on capital investment by oil and gas companies in your state.
Not to mention the overall state economy, which is showing the signs of the nation’s highest sales tax rates (local and state sales taxes combined), the result of some $2 billion in tax increases he successfully demanded from the state legislature. It’s not surprising that Texas next door is growing four times as fast.
These figures make a joke out of the governor’s rhetoric. In July, Edwards tried to claim Louisiana’s economy is just fine. That was laughable when he uttered it. It’s worse now.
And with all the talk about the fiscal cliff Louisiana is about to hit next year, all the governor wants to do is raise taxes even more. This failure in economic competitiveness isn’t likely to get better; in fact, with the American economy improving overall it’s quite likely Louisiana will find itself falling further and further behind until the anti-business, anti-growth policies of this governor are put to pasture.