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Funds to Improve Existing Industries Prominent in Louisiana Budget

March 05, 2008

Gov. Bobby Jindal unveiled his fiscal year 2008-09 budget to the legislature last week, focusing heavily on improving the existing workforce and creating a business climate that encourages entrepreneurship.


The governor’s recommendation for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (DED) is $29.2 million in general funds, down $11.2 million from last year. The recommendation for total funds is $85.9 million, down from $201 million last year. The reduction is largely due to nonrecurring funding and interagency transfers and will not impact the department’s services in the coming fiscal year, according to budget documents. Workforce and economic development initiatives slated for funding include:

  • $3 million from the Louisiana Economic Development Fund for the Quick Start Initiative to deliver comprehensive specialized workforce training services. This initiative will be designed based on best practices in place elsewhere and will be implemented largely through partnerships with the Louisiana Technical College System and private providers.
  • $2.5 million in statutory dedication for a State Economic Competitiveness Benchmarking, Planning and Research Initiative. This initiative will focus on economic development strategy and planning by benchmarking state public policies against competing states to identify gaps and solutions.
  • $500,000 for the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing for operational expenses and development of new undergraduate and graduate-level courses in advanced manufacturing utilizing advanced materials.
  • $400,000 in general funds for a retention and expansion team to cultivate the state’s existing businesses by pursuing new projects. A new senior-level LED official will lead a team to interview top economic driver companies around the state and identify obstacles and expansion opportunities.
  • $400,000 in other funds for annualized costs of the Good Manufacturing Practices Facility. Funding will be used primarily for professional services in an effort to assist investigators in moving toward commercialization.
  • $300,000 for a statewide incubator program to create, develop and mentor small businesses.
  • $100,000 in general funds to support the technology transfer, procurement and economic development activities that will be coming out of the NASA Michoud facility.
  • $66,000 in other funds for the Life Science Incubator (wet lab) facility in Shreveport to align the recommended budget with anticipated expenditure requirements. The primary increase is associated with hiring a consultant to market and recruit new tenants to the incubator.

The governor is not recommending funding for the Louisiana Technology Park ($2.8 million decrease over last fiscal year). FY08 was the last fiscal year for which funding was required under the cooperative endeavor agreement between Louisiana Technology Park and DED, according to budget documents.


Gov. Jindal recommended increased funding for higher education initiatives to help achieve the goals in the Louisiana: Vision 20/20 strategic plan. Specifically, the governor is asking lawmakers to approve $10 million for workforce development and increased capacity in high-demand fields within the higher education system. Gov. Jindal also recommends $8 million in one-time funding for endowed chairs and professorships for Louisiana universities and $4 million for dual-enrollment programs for high school students.


Gov. Jindal’s fiscal year 2008-09 budget recommendation is available at: http://doa.louisiana.gov/opb/pub/FY09/FY09ExecBudget.htm