Well, did you see it? Ford Motor Company announced that it is investing $11bn to shift to electric vehicles.
But for us in Louisiana the message was all together different. Though clearly devastating, it was not that finally the end of our easy times coming from a waning energy sector had arrived. The real message was subtly there for all to see.
Ford is committed to the electric future, but they are aligned with the fundamental principle of doing so profitably. And the message to Louisiana is that they are doing so by investing in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas. In fact Louisiana remains the only southern state without automobile manufacturing or automobile subcontractors.
This news mirrors what I have been saying for years. Friends, we have missed the economic growth of the New South, that ship sailed. We let it slip away by trusting political talking points that were empty promises. And now we don’t have anywhere near enough cash to, as in the past, continue to follow the easy way popular with governors of giving away scarce tax dollars to buy industry.
Think about this, can you name one substantial economic win over the last five years? Though I despise his use of subsidy over economic desirability, at least Bobby Jindal was able to attract huge petrochemical investments during his time as governor. But since Jindal left office, nothing, nada, zilch. Now we can’t even buy a win.
For years, I have screamed into a gale that when considering assets Louisiana is one of, if not the best endowed states in the South. The way to bring prosperity to our people is just fix the fundamentals. FIX THE FUNDAMENTALS.
Ford nor any other major company will ever move to a state where they cannot make a profit and keep as much as possible for their shareholders. Despite our great assets, we do not offer a political environment that fulfills that principle.
We can use our assets to our benefit, but to do so, we must elevate leaders who get it. Leaders who can walk and chew gum at the same time. Leaders who understand and apply the relationship between a profit-friendly business climate and prosperity for our people. Leaders who understand that doing the same things over and over will never deliver a positive outcome.
Leaders who will FIX THE FUNDAMENTALS!