Editor’s Note: A guest post by Jefferson Parish President John Young, who is running for Lt. Governor this fall.
While partisan debate swirls around the state budget and spending, there remains a pro-growth solution we must not lose sight of: by creating more economic activity, we can increase local and state revenues without raising taxes.
Tourism has proven to be highly effective at doing exactly that.
Last year, Louisiana attracted a record-‐breaking 28.7 million visitors, who in turn poured $11.2 billion into our local economies. Those impressive numbers translated into $836 million in state tax revenue - money that
can be re-invested in critical priorities like education, health care and transportation.
While tourism is growing our economy and contributing to the state coffers, we face a serious challenge in continuing this trend: our crime rate.
Unfortunately, national reports and studies consistently list Louisiana near the top of all the wrong lists when it comes to crime. In fact, a recent study ranked Louisiana as one of the worst places to retire in America, specifically citing crime as a factor. This is a major problem, and one we must address aggressively.
As a former prosecutor and Assistant District Attorney, I understand the critical connection between public safety and a thriving economy, and am committed to use my experience to work with state and local law enforcement officials to tackle our crime problem. The dedicated men and women of law enforcement working day and night to keep our communities safe deserve the full support of our state leaders.
Thankfully, we’ve seen local communities working in both traditional and non-traditional ways to improve the crime rate. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau recently announced it will spend $2.5 million on an increased State Police presence in New Orleans. And the New Orleans Police Department is focused on graduating new classes of law enforcement recruits.
But this is not just a New Orleans issue. This is an issue for the entire state. Improving our overall image will make visitors more likely to travel to Monroe. Or retire in Alexandria. Or spend a long weekend in Thibodaux.
Our state needs elected officials, business leaders, and law enforcement officials all working together to make fighting crime a top priority. With a unified effort, we can ensure our streets are safe for both local residents and tourists. By attracting new visitors and retirees, we can diversify our state’s economy, further ensuring long-term success.