It’s Time for a RESET

It’s Time for a RESET

By Jim HarrisPresident, Harris, DeVille & Associates

There have been many organizations of Louisiana citizens who have come together working for a better state over the years. Three of those organizations that have stood the test of time are the Council for a Better Louisiana, the Public Affairs Research Council and the Committee of 100.

Founded in 1962, CABL has worked diligently for reform, governmental restructuring and enactment of strong, forward-looking policies. The organization has been a force for positive change by remaining focused on the goal of making Louisiana better and is seen as the premier source for research on all levels of education in the state.

PAR was founded in 1950 and continues to serve as an independent voice offering solutions to public issues in the state through nonpartisan research. Many significant governmental reforms can be traced to PAR recommendations, and the organization contributes constructive ideas and solutions to political thinking. The group also works to inform Louisiana’s citizens about issues critical to the state’s development.

C100 is a group of more than 100 Louisiana business and university leaders joined to influence innovation and economic development opportunities for the state. Created in 1992, C100 serves as Louisiana’s business roundtable dedicated to the state’s long-term economic growth.

A lot of good government policies that have been adopted in Louisiana over the years came out of the efforts of the thousands of Louisiana                 citizens belonging to these groups.

However, never before have these three formidable organizations’ members joined together to foster change for Louisiana’s future. That changes now.

CABL, PAR and C100 have joined forces in a targeted, nonpartisan effort called RESET to focus on issues essential to the state’s future. This effort does not intend to simply hit the “restart” button as the state has done in years past, surviving year to year. RESET is an effort to start anew and create a true path forward for Louisiana’s future.

The Louisiana Legislature and all statewide elected officials are up for reelection in 2019. Issues emphasized during campaigns tend to be the issues addressed in legislation following the election. The year 2020 creates a unique opportunity to inform legislative candidates about important priorities and build a foundation for the transformation of Louisiana and prepare the state for its future.

RESET will focus on four policy issues – state finances (revenue, spending, pension and the Constitution), education (early childhood, PreK-12 and workforce development), transportation infrastructure and criminal justice/public safety.

RESET believes:

  • Louisiana should provide a fair, simple and competitive tax environment for individuals and businesses that produces sufficient revenue for essential government operations and services.
  • Louisiana should simplify the state Constitution to increase fiscal flexibility, allow improvements to our tax and spending policies and modernize state and local relations.
  • Louisiana should improve the state pension system to reduce the risk of increasing debt, better serve the state’s workforce recruitment needs and provide more competitive system for employees.
  • Louisiana should create an efficient criminal justice system that utilizes prison space for those who pose a public safety threat and implements evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism.
  • Louisiana should expand access to high-quality early care and education programs for all at-risk children in Louisiana from birth through age four.
  • Louisiana should maintain a strong school accountability system, rigorous K-12 academic standards and high-quality assessments and continue to build upon a wide and dynamic array of education choices for students and parents.
  • Louisiana should expand access to the Community and Technical College System to develop a stronger workforce, increase wages and meet the needs of employers in high-demand fields.
  • Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure should be an asset, not a liability. The state should significantly invest in its transportation infrastructure, including ports and waterways, enhance public safety, relieve congestion in major urban areas and support commerce and economic development.

The 2019 legislative elections will lead to the 2020 Legislative Session, and that’s where change can be affected. The elections will create a huge loss of institutional knowledge. Forty-seven legislators are term-limited and unable to seek reelection; this is the largest turnover in the Legislature since the implementation of term limits in 2007.

It sounds like the same old, same old thing, but it is not. It is not that we haven’t known where the solutions are, but there has not been the political will to implement them. Theoretically, the state has some fiscal stability, so we have a chance at looking beyond the budget. Louisiana has lost a decade of focus on some of these issues. It’s time to take an assessment of where we are and where we want to be. Where we have been is not where we need to be. These elections and the subsequent 2020 Legislative Session are a great time and place to get started.

RESET is reaching out to candidates in every region of the state in collaboration with regional partners to present the groups’ priorities and will be very active in the 2020 Legislative Session. Hopefully, with this type of partnership, the state will find a way to come together and achieve the very real change for Louisiana’s future we’ve all been talking about for many years. In order to achieve that change, RESET needs you and needs support from other individuals and

businesses. For more information and details on RESET’s priorities, go to

Let’s push the RESET button and make a better future for our children.

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