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Business Facilities magazine has selected Louisiana as its 2010 State of the Year.
“The diversity and growth potential of Louisiana’s top projects in both high-tech and traditional manufacturing, as well as healthy total investments, overall job creation and innovative incentives made Louisiana a clear winner of our annual State of the Year Award,” said Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers.
Runners-up in the annual State of the Year contest included Texas, Tennessee, Utah and South Carolina. Texas was Business Facilities’ 2007 State of the Year award winner; Tennessee snared the magazine’s top honor in 2009. To determine the winner, Business Facilities reviews each state’s top five projects in terms of overall investment and job creation. The magazine also evaluates the state’s execution of its economic development strategy, and the diversity and growth potential of its target industries.
“We were particularly impressed with the diversity of Louisiana’s strategy for developing high-growth sectors, including digital media, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, and modular nuclear power plant components,” Rogers said.
The Business Facilities editor noted that Louisiana “has emerged unbowed from a series of disasters that would have brought less-determined locations to their knees—including a major hurricane, an oil spill and the national economic downturn—and charted a course for the future that positions the state to be a national leader for years to come.”
“This is a remarkable achievement,” he added. “Well done, Louisiana!”
Gov. Bobby Jindal hailed the State of the Year Award as “yet another example of the better Louisiana we are building for our children.”
“Since day one, we have made economic development our top priority by cutting taxes, revamping workforce training, and reforming our ethics code,” Gov. Jindal said. “We’ve made incredible progress and fostered an economic environment that is creating opportunity for our people, but we will not rest until all of our sons and daughters can pursue their dreams right here at home.”
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Stephen Moret said the State of the Year Award is proof that Louisiana is “closing the gap between the perception and reality of [its] business climate.”
“This terrific news is a reflection of Louisiana’s continued economic progress during a difficult national economic period,” Moret said. “This recognition is in large part the result of recent economic competitiveness improvements in Louisiana, including business tax cuts, governmental ethics reform, the creation of LED FastStart and our focus on business retention and expansion.”
Louisiana’s FastStart program was cited by Business Facilities in its annual State Rankings earlier this year, earning the Bayou State the top ranking in the Workforce Training Leaders category. Louisiana also was among the top 10 states in Economic Growth Potential in the Business Facilities ranking.
“While we are pleased with our progress, we are not slowing down,” Moret said. “We are going to keep working hard to strengthen Louisiana’s position as the emerging economic powerhouse of the South.” [To read LED’s news release, go to http://tinyurl.com/37n4a4k]
A major project that helped put Louisiana over the top in the State of the Year competition also emerged as a winner in Business Facilities’ 2010 Economic Development Deal of the Year awards contest. Louisiana Economic Development received the magazine’s Bronze Award for the Nucor steel plant project.
“Nucor Corp.’s decision to locate its new multi-phase iron and steel plant in Louisiana is one of the major economic development success stories in the nation, bringing $3.4 billion in direct capital investment and more than 1,200 jobs to the state,” Rogers said, noting that the jobs created at Nucor will pay nearly three times the average wage in the St. James Parish area.
“This project will transform the economy of St. James Parish,” the Business Facilities editor added.
A blue-ribbon panel of economic development experts selected Business Facilities’ Economic Development of the Year Award winners from among 24 projects nominated by leading development agencies across the country. The judges analyzed economic impact statistics, reviewed project narratives submitted by the candidates, and evaluated innovated methods used to win each site selection contest.