Derbes Falgoust
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Benefits of Having a Business in Southern Louisiana

Just about everyone who has ever visited South Louisiana will tell you that you can find some of the best food in the world in just about any city or town in the region. If all commerce revolved around food, there is little doubt that businesses would flock here. But all kidding aside, there are some very good reasons to do business in this great state of ours, and many companies can benefit by locating here.

Louisiana has attracted petrochemical and energy companies for decades, but in addition to that, in the last decade other industries have started looking to Louisiana. Manufacturing, healthcare, digital media and software firms have all joined the ranks of Louisiana businesses.

Louisiana was ranked #6 overall in 2012 by Area Development Magazine in their poll of best states for business. Additionally, we ranked #4 for general business environment and #5 for best labor environment. One of the reasons for these high rankings is the fact that the state government eliminated some outdated taxes. But largely, credit goes to the fact that the state has created several very creative tax incentives designed to attract businesses.

For example, the Restoration Tax Abatement gives a 100% tax abatement for five years for any business that rehabilitates an existing structure. While that might not work for all businesses, any company that is able to take advantage of this by refurbishing and restoring an old building has to feel good about the fact that they are shrinking their environmental impact while saving money.

The Corporate Jobs Tax Credit gives up to $225 worth of tax credits for every new worker a company hires. This encourages businesses to hire locally, something that is definitely good for the state and the local economy. There are also tax credits for businesses doing certain kinds of research and development as well as tax exemptions for biotechnology sales and use. Most exciting of all, at least to the general populace, are the tax credits that have attracted the motion picture industry to South Louisiana. That definitely reflects well for our state; just ask any Twilight fan.

Louisiana has passed legislation to grant benefits for businesses that prioritize the interests of workers, the environment and communities above corporate or shareholder interests. Known as Benefit Corporation Legislation and passed so far by nineteen states and the District of Columbia, this special designation allows companies to put more of a focus on social, economic and environmental sustainability. This is especially important here in Louisiana which has seen the ravages of devastating storms and industrial accidents. Louisiana was at the forefront of this movement, being the eighth state to enact the laws.

Another great program in Louisiana is the FastStart ™ job creation plan. This state-run program provides help in hiring qualified employees to specific types of businesses that commit to creating a certain number of jobs. This program is funded by the state and costs nothing for businesses that take advantage of it. FastStart ™ has a process that includes evaluating needs, drafting plans, organizing classes, material development, employee screening and customized training.

The state of Louisiana is so committed to helping businesses relocate or locate here that they have created a customized approach to especially large companies. State agencies work with large companies to help them find locations and create customized packages which include tax incentives and other perks.

For more information and some good articles about the advantages of doing business in South Louisiana, check out the links below. And if anyone has any doubts, then maybe they need to eat out more.

Port of Louisiana - Business Incentives

Incentives: Louisiana FastStart

Louisiana.gove - Business Page

Benefit Corporation Information Center

Louisiana Economic Quarterly - Q1 2013

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