Last week, Advocate columnist Lanny Keller penned a surprisingly personal and agitated opinion piece focused more on name-calling than analysis. His frustration comes from the fact that over 60 business and civic organizations have come together to unite behind the Coalition for a Strong Economy agenda, which outlines six simple strategies that can serve as the basis for smart governmental policy and an impetus for economic growth. The agenda can be found at www.labi.org/CASE and is both timely and relevant considering we are in a critical election year.

The CASE agenda was drafted after months of discussions with input from various groups across Louisiana and is filled with well-researched suggestions for economic prosperity. Items in the CASE agenda include proposals that are obviously necessary for Louisiana, such as “adopt a pro-growth tax code” and “transform state budgeting to allow for a prioritization of spending.” This new coalition argues the state must emphasize growth in the private sector and work more strategically to tackle infrastructure challenges and to grow a more educated and skilled workforce.

Despite its obvious merit, Mr. Keller takes issue with the very formation of the CASE coalition and proposals. He specifically argues that the coalition is “selfish” in focusing on growing the economy and attacks the diversity of the coalition itself. His attempts to prove his disdain for the role and voice of the many chambers of commerce in the coalition, that happen to represent thousands of local employers from all over Louisiana, fall awkwardly flat.

Apparently, the fact that the group consists of entities that would like to see economic growth in the private sector treated as a priority this election season is what really irritates Mr. Keller. He appears to think the debate this fall should be solely focused on new revenue for government spending and he seems tired of all these pesky voices from the private sector that keep bringing up other issues that challenge that singular narrative. LABI is proud to be a part of a coalition that offers ideas and insight to our elected officials, even if it seems to rankle those who may have a personal agenda that differs from ours.

Election seasons are always great times to debate policies, and this season is no different. LABI will continue to articulate and promote proposals that help create jobs and opportunities for our people, while also making government stable, effective and efficient. That has proudly been our mission for the last 40 years, and it will continue to be our approach going forward.

Stephen Waguespack

president, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

Baton Rouge