Regional economic development organization announces legislative agenda
Baton Rouge, LA (March 9, 2022) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced the priorities for which the organization will advocate during the 2022 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, which begins on Monday, March 14. BRAC’s chief priority will be transportation infrastructure, namely safeguarding the proposed $500M allocation toward a new Mississippi River bridge. BRAC will also advocate for legislation aimed at enhancing economic competitiveness and bolstering the talent pipeline. BRAC’s legislative priorities can be found in full at brac.org/legislative-priorities.
“A new Baton Rouge Area bridge is finally a near-term opportunity, and as the region with the fourth-worst traffic congestion in the country, we need to remain focused and aggressive in prioritizing funding,” said Erin Monroe Wesley, chair of BRAC’s Advocacy Council. “The transportation infrastructure projects proposed or underway throughout the Capital Region have the potential to unlock economic opportunity not only in the Baton Rouge Area, but across the state.”
“We are excited about the potential in this session to greatly enhance the state’s infrastructure and economic competitiveness,” said Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO. “We finally have a real chance to address the region’s long-time traffic congestion woes, we can take another shot at streamlining our unreasonably complex sales tax process, and we can set up our next generation to succeed educationally and economically.”
BRAC’s 2022 legislative priorities are summarized below:
- Continue to address the Capital Region’s transportation crisis, specifically through safeguarding the $500M commitment toward a new Mississippi River bridge, fully funding the I-10 widening, and advancing passenger rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
- Renew the Quality Jobs Program and protect Louisiana’s economic development toolkit. The Quality Jobs incentive program is one of Louisiana’s most important economic development tools, targeting job growth in innovation-driven, competitive, and high-wage industry sectors.
- Make higher education course credits universally transferable, helping more students complete degrees without undue time and financial burdens.
- Improve access to computer science education in K-12 to better prepare the state’s future workforce for job opportunities across industry sectors that are increasingly tech-driven.
- Centralize sales tax collection to simplify the process and reduce the barrier to doing business in the state for small and mid-size companies without the resources or staff to navigate the current unwieldy process.
- Reduce the number of occupational licenses that hinder individuals’ ability to enter the workforce and are not necessary to protect health and safety.
- Prioritize Capital Outlay for the Capital Region, specifically in support of the LSU/City Parks Lakes revitalization project, priorities for the region’s higher education institutions, and projects related to road enhancement and drainage.
BRAC’s full rationale on its legislative priorities is available at brac.org/legislative-priorities.
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.org.