ExxonMobil Allocates $300,000 to Support Baton Rouge Education and Workforce Initiatives

• Targeted funding supports primary, secondary, technical and higher education programs
• $75,000 goes to East Baton Rouge School System’s STEM Learning Network and innovation grants
• New Schools for Baton Rouge receives $50,000 for teacher recruitment and training

ExxonMobil is allocating$300,000 in community grant funding to Baton Rouge
educational and workforce development programs in 2017. The community grant allocation process is part of more
than $4 million donated annually to the areathrough company donations, employee grants, matching gifts and
Volunteer Involvement Program grants.

“Our investment is targeted to create pathways for jobs, spur innovation in the classroom and encourage
collaboration to enhance local education,” said Mark Northcutt, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge refinery plant manager.
“There is great opportunity for growth in our industry, and we want local students to be our future workforce.”

ExxonMobil is contributing $75,000 to the East Baton Rouge School System’s STEM Learning Network through the
Foundation for EBRSchools. The network provides resourcesand collaboration for teachers, parentsand
community leaders in STEM education. Teachers can apply for a portion of this funding for innovative classroom
grants through the Foundation for EBR Schools.

“Through ExxonMobil’s support over the past two years, the STEM Learning Networkhas been recognized as part of
the national STEM ecosystem,” says Keila Stovall, executive director, Foundation for EBRSS. “The ecosystem allows
us to collaborate with cities across the US on successful practices that increase the number of technology-rich,
workforce-relevant experiences for students.”

A grant of $50,000 will go to New Schools for Baton Rouge, which has supported the 2017 opening of Collegiate
Academies and the fall 2018launch of IDEA Public Schools and BASIS Baton Rouge. New Schools will use the
funding for teacher professional development and recruitment, which are critical to the success of charter schools.

Other educational funding recipients include City Year and Junior Achievement of Baton Rouge toprovide support
services to enhance classroom learning. Teach for America will receive funding for its local recruitment and training
efforts. Louisiana State University (LSU) will provide educational programming through its student-led Environ-mentors,
Math Club and Peer Mentor programs.

To help strengthen the pipelinefor craft jobopportunities, ExxonMobil is contributing to programs like the Baton
Rouge Community College for the collaborative North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative, which expects to
graduate 44 students in pipefitting, welding and electricalcrafts this year. Baton Rouge Youth Coalition and HOPE
Ministries will also receive grants to support college and work-readiness programs.

Port of Lake Charles and Institute Partner in Dredge Material Study

Via the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association

BATON ROUGE, La. (September 20, 2017) –The Water Institute of the Gulf is embarking on a new study with the Port of Lake Charles to identify sediment sources in the Calcasieu Ship Channel and to find the best way to use channel dredged material to protect critical infrastructure at the port.

The $360,000 contract approved by the port in late August tasks the Institute with better understanding how sediment moves through the Calcasieu Ship Channel and to evaluate alternative locations to find long-term and realistic dredge disposal sites. Primarily due to the increase in liquified natural gas, it’s predicted that ship traffic will double by 2023.

“With close to $120 billion in projects coming to our area, it is absolutely critical that we ensure the long-term viability of the Calcasieu Ship Channel,” said Bill Rase, Port of Lake Charles executive director. “The Port of Lake Charles is eager to partner with the Water Institute and other area industry leaders to explore cost-effective solutions. The rising cost of dredging and more specifically the lack of necessary areas for the placement of dredged material are the two items that can strangle the development of “America’s Energy Corridor.”

“The Institute is honored to partner with the Port of Lake Charles and its many stakeholders,” said Justin Ehrenwerth, President and CEO of Water Institute. “We look forward to bringing the best science and analysis to this project and working toward generating solutions for the challenges facing the port.”

The Calcasieu Ship Channel must be dredged yearly to ensure that it meets the 400-foot-wide and 40-foot-deep federally mandated requirements. It’s estimated that the Port of Lake Charles will need to have 97 million cubic yards of disposal capacity for dredged material during the next 20 years. An additional seven to eight million cubic yards of dredged placement space will need to be found to accommodate new project construction. However, a 2010 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study only identified five million cubic yards of available disposal capacity which means new sites must be found.

“The Calcasieu River Ship Channel is essential for the Phillips 66 Lake Charles Refinery’s continued operation. We are concerned a permanent source of dredging funds and disposal plans are not identified to maintain the channel’s authorized depth,” said Richard G. Harbison, Phillips 66 Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex Manager.

“Its’s our hope this study will give us much needed information that helps us to provide proper funding to maintain the Lake Charles ship channel. A large number of jobs and businesses are tied to the continued viability of the channel,” said President of the Louisiana Chemical Association, Greg Bowser.

“Finding solutions to the unique issues the channel faces are critical to unlocking its potential. This study is an important first step in the future of industry in southwest Louisiana,” said Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association President, Chris John.

“The present expansions will easily place the Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Waterway in the top nine most vital deep draft ports in the country. With an additional $70 billion in announced expansions and new facilities, the Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Waterway will rank as one of the most important energy ports in the nation,” Captain Brett Palmer, president of the Lake Charles Pilots, Inc.

“The Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District is the economic engine for Southwest Louisiana. Our community and state benefit from the revenue and jobs created by businesses that utilize the port facilities and the ship channel. Finding a stable funding solution for meeting the needs of the ship channel is imperative, and this study will provide valuable information to the port and its customers,” said State Senator Ronnie Johns.

“The Calcasieu Ship Channel is the “Energy Corridor” for America. As a region and a state, we need to make certain we adequately address the needs of the ship channel and identify a long-term financial solution to keeping it at the required depth. The results of the study will provide a plan for addressing the dredging and disposal of sediment,” said State Representative Mark Abraham.

“As LNG investment continues to grow, it will become increasingly important to develop sustainable solutions to dredging the channel,” said Caitlin Cain, Director, Louisiana Energy Export Association. “The unique joint-venture between the Water Institute of the South and the Port of Lake Charles helps ensure that the billions of dollars of planned investment for SW Louisiana will result in continued job growth and economic prosperity for Louisiana residents.”

Since 1962 the Port of Lake Charles has been the local sponsor of the Calcasieu River and Pass Project, acting on behalf of the state, and as such the port needs to find a reliable source of funding to pay for the required 25 percent of construction costs and 100 percent of real estate costs for rebuilding existing disposal sites and building new ones. Those costs are estimated to be about $79 million during the next 20 years, but will likely increase over time.

Doing the ground work to better define where sediment is moving in the channel and to identify long-term dredge disposal sites will help the port be able to maintain and improve a viable and economically vital shipping channel. A science-based plan will also help the port, acting on behalf of the state, to secure the funding necessary that will allow continuing construction of new coastal land through beneficial use of the dredged material which in turn helps provide better protection to industry and communities into the future.

About The Water Institute of the Gulf
The Water Institute of the Gulf is a not-for-profit, independent research institute dedicated to advancing the understanding of coastal, deltaic, river and water resource systems, both within the Gulf Coast and around the world. This mission supports the practical application of innovative science and engineering, providing solutions that benefit society. For more information, visit www.thewaterinstitute.org.

Read this on the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association website. 

Op-Ed: You Can’t Grow An Economy With a Jackpot Justice System Like Louisiana Has

Via The Hayride

Our precious people took a serious economic hit this week. A report was released which placed our civil justice system as the most unfair in the entire nation and placed New Orleans’ system as the third-worst American city.

Most people just shrug all this off but, in the context of reducing poverty through wealth-creating jobs, it is devastating. Such jobs only come when business creates them. Government can never create these jobs. We know that government is actually counterproductive to attaining prosperity through free market economic growth.

When a business makes a decision on starting up, expansion, or location it uses a check list of metrics to evaluate the opportunity for it to make a profit. This list may be long or short but in all cases it includes items like the extent of government interference, infrastructure, the availability of educated workers, the civil justice climate, and so on. The release of the national rankings report was followed by a second release that reported a poll of CEO’s indicating that 85% considered a fair civil justice system a top metric when they consider where to grow their business and create jobs.

Let me make this clear, our state is held hostage by a relatively small group of very wealthy lawyers who use their money and political power to enshrine policies that feed their greed. The most glaring point is that the largest contributors to Governor Edwards’ campaign, a small-town trial lawyer himself, were his peer trial lawyers.

For many years legislators have tried to make incremental change to our legal system only to be stifled by very strong trial lawyer lobbying efforts. The legislative committees that deal with tort reform issues are made up heavily of trial lawyers, so between a trial lawyer governor and the legislative committees no one in the legislature realistically believes that in the near term we can crack the stranglehold that the trial lawyers have over any reform.

This is where we are. We are losing untold thousands of jobs so that the trial lawyers can fulfill their own desires and because of politicians who are beholden to trial lawyers no meaningful tort reform bill will ever see the light of day.

The numbers don’t lie; we are last in so many metrics and civil justice is just one. However, it is one that could be addressed in the near term if the governor truly desired prosperity through economic growth over government largesse. You can draw your own conclusions from his actions but whatever you think, don’t expect this governor to use his power to reform civil justice so that we can attract business. It will never happen.

Read this on The Hayride.

Dozens of Groups Rally to Support Constitutional Amendment #1, Here’s Why.

Organizations across Louisiana like The Times-Picayune, Louisiana Policy Jury Association, Louisiana Realtors Association and Louisiana Oil and Gas Association have thrown their support behind Constitutional Amendment #1, which would explicitly prohibit the assessment of property taxes on any project while it is under construction.

These groups are urging Louisianians to support the amendment to help keep our state competitive and create certainty for every business seeking to invest money. Passage of this amendment, which will be on the Oct. 14 ballot, will help create jobs in Louisiana by ensuring companies are not targeted with a new, unexpected property tax bill when they are building or expanding their businesses.

 As The Times-Picayune editorial board noted in their Sept. 24 recommendation of support, “This is a sensible revision to the Constitution, which currently is silent on the issue. Taxing shouldn’t be up in the air and vary from parish to parish.”

About Constitutional Amendment #1:

Constitutional Amendment #1 prohibits the assessment of property taxes on any project while it is under construction. Only when construction of a house, building or facility is complete and ready for its intended use should the local assessor place the property on the tax rolls.

This has been the established practice in Louisiana for decades, yet the exemption is not clearly spelled out in the Constitution. In 2016, one parish threatened to tax a major project while it was still under construction.

That potential action poses a significant threat to all Louisiana property owners. If the threatened tax was implemented, construction work would become taxable for every home and office building under construction in Louisiana.

Constitutional Amendment #1 is good for Louisiana businesses and jobs:

Constitutional Amendment #1 provides certainty to every business seeking to invest money and create jobs in Louisiana by ensuring it is not targeted with a new, arbitrary and unexpected property tax bill. If this amendment fails, any future growth to our current facilities or any construction of a new plant would be highly questionable.

What Constitutional Amendment #1 doesn’t do:

Constitutional Amendment #1 does not take any revenue away from local governments. Construction projects have not been taxed in the past and this amendment will prevent them from being taxed in the future.

For more information, visit ProtectLaTaxpayers.com

Louisiana Project Gains European Investor

via Louisiana Oil and Gas Association
Venture Global Calcasieu Pass, LLC. has secured a 20-year sales and purchase agreement to provide liquefied natural gas  to Italy-based Edison, a major electricity supplier. Venture Global is developing the liquefaction terminal on a 930-acre site with more than a mile of deep water frontage on the Calcasieu Ship Channel near the Gulf of Mexico. Venture Global anticipates a final investment decision in the first half of 2018.

When it Comes to Coast, It is not ‘Industry Should’ It is ‘Industry Is’

By Marc Ehrhardt, Executive Director for the Grow Louisiana Coalition

Earlier this summer, the state legislature adopted the next phase of the Coastal Master Plan. This effort was recognized as an ambitious commitment to secure our economic future through the preservation of Louisiana’s working coast. It is also an opportunity for government and industry to commit financial resources and work together for the good of Louisiana. A fact that sometimes gets lost in both political and media circles is that the oil and natural gas industry has been, and continues to be, the primary economic driver of state finances – including those dedicated to coastal restoration.

Misguided efforts have targeted the energy industry with lawsuits, arbitrarily declaring that oil and natural gas needs to do more. It is time to recognize that the people and businesses of Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry bear the enormous responsibility of paying taxes as good corporate citizens and for making contributions to the coast.

If you live in Louisiana, someone very close by, whether it be a relative or friend, earns a living, raises a family or enjoys retirement because of the opportunities offered by the industry. Each year, thousands of Louisiana-based oil and natural gas businesses account for $3 billion in taxes and fees to the state. Over and above what is already contributed to the state, each day the industry pays $3.5 million to parishes and cities in Louisiana, totaling $1.3 billion each year.

Some say “these are taxes you have to pay anyway, and we will sue you to get more.” That is wrong.

Between 2006 and 2016, Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry paid approximately $14 billion for the opportunity to do business in the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. These are monies above what regular businesses here pay. All the while tens of thousands of Louisiana businesses in oil and natural gas and hundreds of thousands of Louisianians each year pay sales, corporate franchise and income taxes.

Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry is the only entity, beyond the federal government, contributing anything towards Louisiana’s coast. The funds dedicated to the Coastal Master Plan come in the form of taxes and royalties paid by Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry. The infrastructure projects along Louisiana’s coast for environmental permitting and protection are being funded with industry funds.

This situation questions whether the challenges of the coast are rooted in finding more funds in any way possible or whether we are prioritizing this issue appropriately as a state.

This is not a matter of “the industry should.” It is a fact that the industry is addressing coastal issues now. On June 9, NOLA.com posted a story about ConocoPhillips piloting a program to seed mangroves along coastal Louisiana. Apache Corporation received Louisiana’s top conservation award for donating four million trees since 2005. A partnership between the New Orleans Geological Society and three Louisiana universities is using $200 million in industry data to conduct research of seismic faults along the Louisiana coast. Other companies are partnering to create miles of oyster reefs along southeast Louisiana.

While the industry and communities go to work on these programs, lawsuits filed in 2013 were thrown out of federal court three times, with other lawsuits languishing in state court without any significant movement. However, applications for coastal use permits by businesses looking to invest in Louisiana dropped 37 percent since 2013.

Lawsuits negatively affect Louisiana’s competitive position, especially for new projects. That leaves Louisiana in a position that hurts our economic recovery and the potential for our coast.

The solution to our coastal issues is to use the best science available, which the industry has, and invest financial resources, which the industry has contributed for decades, into projects that can ensure both a protected coast and a working coast. Taxing and suing the largest employer in Louisiana is not a sound economic development strategy.

The best way to preserve Louisiana’s economic and coastal future is working with the oil and natural gas industry, not against it.

Timeline of Louisiana’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry

Via Louisiana Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association

Sept. 21, 1901 — The Heywood well six miles from Jennings was brought in, producing the first oil discovered in the state in commercial quantities and marking what is recognized as the birth of the industry in the state.

1906 — The Louisiana Legislature passed the first state oil and gas conservation law.

1908 — The first natural gas pipeline was laid in Louisiana. It brought gas from the Caddo Field to Shreveport.

1909 — The new refinery in Baton Rouge (which is the Exxon refinery of today) went on stream. Today it is, in terms of capacity, among the largest oil refineries on the North American continent. This is also the year in which construction began on Louisiana’s first long-distance oil pipeline, which by 1910 was transporting crude oil from Caddo Parish to the Baton Rouge refinery.

ABOUT 1910 — The first over-water drilling in America occurred on Caddo Lake near Shreveport.

1913 — A major discovery occurred in Northwest Louisiana when the Bull Bayou Field was brought in.

1916 — The well resulting in the discovery of the Monroe Gas Field was brought in.

1921 — The prolific Haynesville Gas Field was discovered.

1940 — The oil and gas industry came to Central Louisiana in a big way with the discovery of the Olla Field in LaSalle Parish.

1942 — The Lake St. John Field on the eastern border of Louisiana was discovered.

Nov. 14, 1947 — The first oil well out of sight of land was brought in by Kerr-McGee in the Gulf of Mexico about 45 miles south of Morgan City in the Ship Shoal Block 32 Field, marking the birth of the offshore oil and gas industry.

1948 — The Main Pass Field came in near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

1949 — Three major fields were discovered in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast. They were the Eugene Island, BayMarchand and Vermillion Fields.

1950 — The South Pass Field in the Gulf of Mexico was discovered.

1954 — The western boundary of Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry was established with discovery of the West Cameron Field.

1959 — Severance taxes on oil and gas rose above the $100 million mark in Louisiana for the first time.

1969 — Louisiana oil production peaked at 728,494,272 barrels of crude and condensate and reserves began to decline.

1970 — Louisiana’s natural gas reserves dropped for the first time since gas was discovered in significant quantities in the state.

1973 — The offshore industry unveiled Clean Gulf Associates, a cooperative stockpiling of the most sophisticated oil spill containment and cleanup equipment available.

1975 — Gerald R. Ford became the first President of the United States to visit an offshore oil platform when he came to Louisiana on April 23. His comment: “We just have to get more and more of these.”

1982 — Lease and royalty income paid by the oil and gas industry to the state of Louisiana soared to an all-time record $624,529,812.

1982 — Oil and gas severance taxes in Louisiana hit an all-time record $971,677,140.

1986 — The Bay Marchand Field produced its 500,000,000th barrel of oil making it one of the greatest producers in the U.S.

1988 — Bullwinkle, the world’s tallest man-made offshore structure, was launched May 21, 1988 by Shell Offshore, Inc. Bullwinkle carried a $500 million price tag and is located approximately 150 miles south of New Orleans.

1989 — The first tension well leg platform was installed by Conoco in the Gulf of Mexico with production from the platform beginning November 8. The platform floats on the surface of the water and is connected to a foundation template on the sea floor by tubular steel tendons. The platform was placed in 1,760 feet of water, about 170 miles southwest of New Orleans in the Jolliet Field.

1990 — The Marine Spill Response Corporation was established by the petroleum industry as an oil spill response corporation. The group was created following the March 24, 1989 oil tanker spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. MSRC also announced in that same year that one of its five regional response centers would be located in Lake Charles.

1991 — The Louisiana Legislature enacted a law establishing an oil spill response program. The new law levied a two-cent per barrel fee on all oil transferred to or from a marine terminal in Louisiana.

1991 — The search for oil goes further offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Shell Oil made a deepwater discovery in about 3,100 feet of water, about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. BP Exploration held an interest in the project. A short time later a second deepwater discovery was announced by Exxon and its project partner Conoco.

1991 — The State of Louisiana filed suit in federal court in an effort to block an offshore lease sale. The suit was later dismissed.

1992 — Oklahoma adopts a natural gas proration statute. Louisiana holds public hearings on the issue, but does not adopt any statute or regulations

1993 — The Louisiana Legislature, with the support of the Louisiana oil and gas industry, adopts legislation aimed at addressing the issue of orphaned or abandoned wells. The legislation established a fee on all oil and gas produced in the state and provided for a method of establishing voluntary trust funds for each well that would follow the well each time it is sold and be available to cover the cost of properly closing and abandoning the well when it was no longer productive.

1993 — The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association conducts the first of its kind study regarding the economic impacts of the offshore oil and gas industry. The study Impacts showed that the offshore industry has a positive economic impact on the state of more than $3 billion each year.

1994 — The Louisiana Legislature enacted a major package of incentive legislation. The new legislation provides for the suspension of severance taxes for the re-entering of plugged wells, wells deeper than 15,000 feet, horizontal wells and wildcat wells. Oil and gas activity increased sharply after passage of the incentive legislation.

1996 — After more than a decade of depressed prices and activity, the oil and gas industry began to see a rebound. New drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico spurred on by the development of new technology and the overall worldwide demand for oil gave a new push to Louisiana oil and gas production.

1997 — Record-breaking lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly $1 billion exposed as bids by companies seeking to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, proving that the Gulf of Mexico is not a “dead sea.”

1997 — Louisiana prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of offshore oil and gas exploration and production. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association celebrates its 75th anniversary as a trade association and pays tribute to the industry’s “Remarkable Past and its Exciting Future.”

1998 — Oil prices took a sharp decline in the first part of the year and remained depressed for most of the year.

1998 — A new round of mergers began. BP purchased Amoco, Kerr-McGee purchased Oryx. Exxon and Mobil agreed to a merger that formed the largest company in the United States. Other companies combined downstream operations. New rounds of employee layoffs and consolidations also began.

1999 — OPEC agrees to a new era of production cuts causing oil prices to increase.

Oct. 16, 2000—Chevron and Texaco agreed to merge and become ChevronTexaco, with the name later reverting back to Chevron.

Sept. 15, 2004—Hurricane Ivan made its way through the Gulf of Mexico causing extensive damage to the underwater oil and gas infrastructure.

Aug. 29, 2005—Hurricane Katrina cut a destructive path through the Gulf of Mexico and came ashore causing catastrophic damage in Louisiana the Gulf Coast. Katrina turned out to be the most destructive natural disaster in United States history. The hurricane curtailed almost all oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and south Louisiana. Many gas processing plants were damaged while several refineries were flooded with the damage to the state infrastructure hindering repairs.

Sept. 24, 2005—Less than one month after Katrina, Hurricane Rita came ashore in Louisiana, causing damage all across the southern part of the state with extensive damage in the southwest corner. Rita followed a path similar to Katrina through the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall. The combined path of the two hurricanes that were less than 30 days apart was perhaps the most destructive course that the storms could have taken in regards to offshore oil and gas activities.

Nov. 7, 2006—Marathon approved a major expansion of its Garyville, LA refinery. The expansion will add 180,000 barrels of capacity and cost more than $3 billion. The Garyville refinery was the last refinery built in the United States more than 30 years earlier.

July 13, 2007—The Louisiana Mineral Board reported that state income from oil and gas royalties had hit an all-time high with collections of $522.5 million.

January 2008—For the first time, crude oil price broke $100 per barrel and gasoline prices broke $4.00 per gallon.

2008—Another brutal Hurricane Season wreaks havoc on Louisiana’s oil and gas industry as Hurricane’s Gustav and Ike hit the Gulf Coast within weeks of each other.

The People’s Message: Focus on Jobs, Not Lawsuits and Taxes

By Jim Harris, Coalition for Common Sense and Melissa Landry, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch

A grassroots petition challenging Gov. John Bel Edwards to refocus his agenda on job creation and improving the state’s economy has collected more than 10,000 signatures from Louisianans across the state.

Launched by the Coalition for Common Sense and Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch in May, the online petition states, “Over 20,000 Louisiana workers lost their jobs in the last two years. We have one of the worst unemployment rates in the country. Our families are struggling. Our economy is shrinking. Simply put, we need JOBS. Not more taxes and lawsuits.”

The call for an improved state business climate that will help get people back to work comes after 18 straight months of year-after-year job losses and more than $1 billion in tax increases pushed by the governor last year.

Since taking office in 2016, Gov. Edwards has also aggressively worked to expand the state’s role in coastal lawsuits targeting Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry, which provides thousands of good jobs. In fact, Gov. Edwards recently hired one of his top political fundraisers to represent the governor’s office and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources in an anticipated wave of new lawsuits against the industry promising, “We’re going to be active litigants going forward,” according to the source.

Unfortunately, these actions will only continue to move Louisiana in the wrong direction and further weaken the state’s struggling economy.

Louisiana’s estimated economic growth over the first quarter of 2017 was a meager 1 percent, according to numbers released in August from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

If it weren’t for North Carolina, Louisiana would have had the worst growth rate in the southeast region of the country. This follows a year of contraction in 2016, when the state’s economy actually shrank at an annual rate of 0.6 percent.

This abysmal economic outlook is further reflected in a slew of national reports released in 2017 that consistently rank Louisiana’s struggling economy among the worst in the country (see sidebar).

By nearly every measure, the data shows our communities are struggling, and we desperately need jobs. We need good jobs that provide the wages, benefits and opportunities necessary for workers to raise their families and save for the future.

We need high-paying jobs that produce the tax revenues necessary to stabilize the state budget and allow our local economies to thrive. Relentlessly taxing and suing small businesses, entrepreneurs and manufacturers will not attract these kinds of jobs – rather, it will push more and more of them away.

It is time to change course. Rather than championing job-killing policies, Gov. Edwards should refocus his agenda on growing Louisiana’s economy and creating high-paying jobs to get people back to work.

Editor’s Note: Join the “Jobs, Not Lawsuits and Taxes” movement and sign the online petition at http://llaw.org/dear-governor/.

The Coalition for Common Sense (CCS) is a group of professional associations, companies and individuals committed to ensuring a fair legal climate for both truly impaired individuals and small and large businesses operating in Louisiana. Since 2008, CCS has been the lead lobbying organization on legal reform issues in the state, which played a key role in passing legislation to outlaw the state’s practice of hiring private lawyers on contingency fee and was part of a team involved in passing numerous reform bills to address legacy lawsuit abuse.

Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch is a high-impact watchdog group with more than 10,000 supporters across the state dedicated to fixing Louisiana’s broken legal system through transparency, accountability and lawsuit reform. Learn more at: www.llaw.org. Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch is a high-impact watchdog group with more than 10,000 supporters across the state dedicated to fixing Louisiana’s broken legal system through transparency, accountability and lawsuit reform. Learn more at: www.llaw.org.