The Landry administration recently released the reports of its various transition councils and there is a lot to be encouraged about within the pages of their recommendations. While the reports are short on detail, they do provide a framework for the direction the state’s new leadership wants to go and it suggests there are opportunities for positive change in several areas that are important to the future of the state.
Many of the ideas mirror the recommendations made by CABL and our partners PAR and the Committee of 100 in our RESET Louisiana collaboration during the 2023 election cycle. Some of the more promising items include:
Education & Workforce
- High-dosage tutoring for students who fall behind, particularly in the areas of reading and foundational math.
- Additional school choice options for students in special circumstances.
- Expanding opportunities for students to receive career training while still in high school including work-based learning and apprenticeship experiences.
- More transparency and accuracy in the state’s school accountability system.
- Flexible funding options for teacher pay to help districts meet their most urgent educator workforce needs.
- Reforming teacher retirement to strengthen the system and offer teachers more flexible retirement options.
- Streamlining authorization processes for charter schools and studying ways to provide resources to improve their facilities.
- Strengthening local participation in early childhood education funding.
- Centralizing and refocusing workforce development initiatives within the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
- Ensuring that those who re-enter society from prison receive meaningful workforce training.
Fiscal Policy & Constitutional Reform
- Streamlining the local approval process for the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP).
- Completing the phase out of the corporate franchise tax.
- Working with local governments on a way to eliminate the local inventory tax and the state inventory tax credit.
- Evaluating statutory dedications and eliminating those that are no longer essential to the state.
- Reducing the length and scope of the state constitution so that it focuses more on the foundational principles of governance.
- Moving many of the overly prescriptive state fiscal policies from the constitution to statute.
- Identifying areas of the constitution that unnecessarily restrict lawmakers and limit their flexibility to perform their jobs.
In addition to these ideas there are other items that deal with economic development and infrastructure that hold great promise.
Of course, the reports of the transition councils represent only a framework for discussion. Some include more specific recommendations than others. Quite a few, while worthy of exploration, must be seen as aspirational goals, recognizing that they face difficult political and logistical hurdles to achieve. And some, quite frankly, give us some pause.
But all of that is to be expected as a new administration begins to find its footing and layout an agenda that wants to diverge from the status quo in many areas and make bold changes. All these things will be sorted out through the political process which will bring everyone who has an interest in any of these issues to the table for discussion and debate.
That said, we are pleased that many of the ideas from the RESET Louisiana agenda have been elevated to a level where we know they will receive a measure of legitimate discussion. That was the point of offering them.
All change is hard and not all the changes everyone wants will be made. But we are encouraged that there will be a robust opportunity to discuss a number of big ideas. We hope people from across the spectrum will participate in the debates and we look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to enact the policies that stand the best chance of moving Louisiana forward for the betterment of all of our citizens.