In 2019, CABL partnered with the Public Affairs Research Council and the Committee of 100 for Economic Development, on a unique initiative called RESET Louisiana. It was election year, and the goal was to focus the attention of candidates on four issue areas key to the state’s future: state fiscal policies, transportation infrastructure, education, and criminal justice reform. The recently-completed 2021 legislative session saw significant progress on all of them.
The whole purpose of RESET was to help establish a policy framework to help move Louisiana forward. Our state has many areas of need, but we chose four that we knew were important and where we believed we could make meaningful progress.
The pandemic shut down hope of any real discussion of those issues in 2020, with concerns focused on addressing the covid crisis and navigating the pitfalls of an economy that was largely on hold. But 2021 saw the Legislature meet in a fiscal session, where tax reform and other fiscal issues were front and center. And lawmakers made a major statement on the RESET agenda.
The results of that work can be found in our new Legislative Report Card: A Year of RESET Policy Agenda Progress. Lawmakers moved the needle on all four of our issue areas. Of particular note, was the passage of two major constitutional amendments on tax reform and the first ongoing new investment in transportation infrastructure in almost 40 years.
The Report Card summarizes those policy initiatives along with some very positive actions in education at all levels and criminal justice. To be sure, compromises had to be made and there is more work to do in the future. But we appreciate the fact that this year’s Legislature came to the Capitol intent on tackling some big issues and they left with some major wins under their belt.
All is not over, because the two constitutional amendments on tax reform must still be approved by voters on October 9. That doesn’t diminish the good work lawmakers did in addressing these important issues. It’s now up to us to help them finish strong and ratify their work at the polls.