On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast in what became a devastatingly historic event that affected hundreds of thousands of lives in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.1 Katrina left catastrophic damage in New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) and caused over $100 billion in damage.2 Approximately 30% of NOLA’s residents lived in poverty at the time of the storm, and Katrina intensified these conditions by creating extreme hardship for the city’s poorest.3 With the help of federal and state legislation, in addition to ProsperityNOLA, a development plan to promote economic recovery, NOLA continues to recover and grow economically one decade after Katrina.
Primarily, the Obama Administration has focused on accelerating economic recovery in areas hit hard by Katrina through a variety of initiatives and incentives that “cut red tape” so that resources are delivered expeditiously and provide fiscal support to devastated neighborhoods.4 At the state level, Louisiana offers a vast array of directed incentive programs to minimize the tax burden and decrease overall operation expenses in an effort to aid companies located and conducting business in Louisiana.5 “Companies that meet certain requirements can take advantage of tax credits and other incentives, including material rebates, deferred property tax assessments, contract lending, and other cost-saving programs.”6
These incentives provide an appealing motivation to relocate, further heighten action plans, or start businesses in the area7 One incentive in particular, the Technology Commercialization Credit and Jobs Program, affords a 40% refundable tax credit for companies investing in the commercialization of Louisiana technology and a 6% payroll reimbursement for the formation of innovative jobs8
Finally, ProsperityNOLA, a five-year plan for economic development in New Orleans, is NOLA’s first wide-ranging development plan9 As an agent for economic change, it was devised to promote the city’s strength for its “tri-centennial in 2018 and beyond”10 ProsperityNOLA aims to: “[C]reate an innovative and sustainable business climate, design a roadmap to optimize job grown and investment, build on the city’s strengths to attract, retain, and grow businesses, address cross-cutting issues that impact the competitiveness of all clusters, [and] identify high – impact action items implantable by the city, state, and business community to propel economic growth.” 11 ProsperityNOLA further strengthens and bolsters plans currently in place by providing a timeline and set of guidelines for ventures to build a stronger economic environment12
In five years, NOLA will hopefully be in a position to be recognized as a city of economic transformation, where there are opportunities for economic contribution, and where the public and private sectors are allied to combat issues and generate opportunity13 As a result of plans implemented by the government throughout the past decade and its plans for the future, NOLA’s economy is making strides towards becoming an economic and diverse epicenter of one of the most resilient states of our nation.
Off. of the Press Sec’y, Fact Sheet: President Obama to Commemorate 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 19, 2015), https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/08/19/fact-sheet-president-obama-commemorate-10th-anniversary-hurricane. ↩
Greater New Orleans Inc., Technology Commercialization Credit and Jobs Program, http://gnoinc.org/about/technology-commercialization-credit-and-jobs-program/ (last visited Sept. 22, 2015). ↩
See generally ProsperityNOLA, A Plan to Drive Economic Growth for 2018 (2013), http://nolaba.org/NOLABA/media/NOLABA/Prosperity%20NOLA/Executive-Summary_Booklet-Final.pdf?ext=.pdf). ↩
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