Billions of dollars are spent each year on coastal restoration and flood control in Louisiana, creating new economic activity. As the state becomes a water management hub, the talent and resources of academia, business and government are converging to form world-class think tanks, laboratories and research.
Home to 122 firms and 41 percent of all U.S. firm headquarters with capabilities related to Gulf Coast restoration and water resource management, Louisiana is an ideal location for water management companies.
According to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, it is projected that Louisiana will spend $1-2 billion per year for the next 50 years on water-related research and projects in marsh creation, protection systems, sediment diversion and other restoration projects.
Louisiana is executing the first fully-integrated ecosystem restoration project of its kind which will promote a sustainable coastal ecosystem and provide a viable working coast to support significant industries.
Louisiana’s importance to the United States is unequaled:
- a significant producer and transporter of oil and natural gas
- the single largest producer of blue crabs, shrimp and crawfish
- the country’s largest habitat for migratory waterfowl and songbirds
- home to five of the top 15 ports by tonnage in the nation--the reach of the state’s port system surpasses both New York and Los Angeles
At the core of Louisiana’s competitive advantages is the strength of its business climate. In recent years, the state has enacted reforms to create an atmosphere that Forbes magazine called, “America’s new frontier for business opportunity.” Louisiana now ranks in the Top 10 states in the country for business climate according to several national publications including Area Development, Business Facilities and Site Selection magazines.
Louisiana’s business climate, coupled with one of the country’s most vibrant, distinct and well-preserved cultures makes the state an exciting place to live, play and work. Louisiana residents enjoy a consistently low cost of living, low housing costs and low unemployment rates. With its rich blend of historical influences, mild climate and diverse natural environments for year-round outdoor experiences, constant line-up of festivals and cultural events, as well as professional and collegiate athletic teams that are rooted in tradition and triumph, Louisiana offers a rich quality of life.
Louisiana is home to 122 firms with specific capabilities related to water management and Gulf Coast restoration projects. The talent pool that these firms represent covers all types of relevant skill sets, from highly professional equipment manufacturing to sophisticated design construction, and transport services.
These employees are producing excellent value for their employers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufactures data released in November 2012, Louisiana ranks No. 2 in the nation in value added per dollar of wages and per hour worked.
Workforce Recruitment and Training
- Compared to the U.S., Louisiana produces 114 percent more value added for each hour worked
- Compared to the U.S., Louisiana produces 77 percent more value for each $1 of wages
Add to the mix LED FastStart, the nation’s best workforce recruitment and training program, and water resource management operations in Louisiana have a strong competitive advantage, especially considering the talent pool that comes with more than 100 water resource management firms in-state. For competitive projects that involve substantial new-job creation, major investment, and the majority of sales to out of state customers, LED FastStart can help to develop an unrivaled talent pool to meet the growing demand for highly skilled workers from day one. All at no cost to the company. FastStart has designed and delivered customized workforce solutions for a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies across multiple industry sectors.
Higher Education Programs
Many universities in Louisiana are playing a key role in finding solutions to water management challenges:
- LSU’s School of the Coast and Environment is a leader in coastal science, engineering and modeling
- ULL Lafayette concentrates on species, ecosystem, and hydrologic systems management
- Tulane University’s areas of study include the impacts of sea-level change on coastal environments
- Southern University has focus areas in both water resource management and bioremediation
- Dillard University has an emerging environmental sciences program
Water Institute of the Gulf
Established in 2012 in Baton Rouge, the Water Institute of the Gulf functions as an integrated, technology-focused entity to solve difficult water issues. In addition to coastal management and water systems, the institute studies changes in fisheries, vegetation, climate and sediment. A not-for-profit, independent research institute dedicated to advancing the understanding of coastal and deltaic systems and to applying scientific and technological solutions for the benefit of society, the institute builds collaboration with public, private and academic partners to preserve and protect the U.S. Gulf Coast environment, a major source of human, natural and industrial resources, while developing and sharing cutting edge technology with the goal of advancing water management efforts worldwide.
In addition to these public and private research efforts, companies can leverage the USGS National Wetland Research Center whose research strengths include coastal restoration, spatial analysis and forest and wetlands ecosystems.
According to a 50-state analysis by the Tax Foundation and KPMG: Location Matters: A Comparative Analysis of State Costs on Business, Louisiana ranks as the second lowest state/local tax burden in the U.S. for a new business operation.
LED administers highly competitive incentives that continue to attract, grow and retain business investments throughout the state. In particular, Louisiana’s Research and Development Tax Credit encourages businesses to establish or continue research and development activities within the state. The incentive provides up to a 40 percent tax credit on qualified research expenditures incurred in Louisiana — with no cap and no minimum requirement.
Louisiana is making a strategic investment in the establishment and expansion of the software development industry in the state, which could translate into a significant reduction in costs to innovate solutions to global water challenges. From development of modeling software to manufacturing/testing of remote sensing instrumentation, Louisiana offers tremendous expertise and savings to companies enhancing their portfolio of water management products.
The Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive is the nation’s strongest, most comprehensive incentive for software development — applicable to the development of:
- Customer-facing enterprise and business software
- Embedded systems and components
- Consumer software and products
- Digital media
- Mobile applications
- Custom software solutions
- Web-based applications
Eligible projects receive a 35 percent refundable tax credit for payroll expenditures and a 25 percent refundable tax credit for qualified production expenditures.