LG LANDRIEU DELIVERS "STATE OF TOURISM" ADDRESS -- 01/18/2006
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2005
LG LANDRIEU DELIVERS "STATE OF TOURISM" ADDRESS
Era of Inefficient Government is over, LA Must "Change the DNA of Government"
(Baton Rouge, LA) - Today, Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu delivered his state of tourism address to industry leaders from across the state gathered at the Louisiana Travel & Promotion Association (LTPA) Summit in Lake Charles.
"To stand up the tourism industry, our research indicates that we must invest in an aggressive marketing campaign to re-image Louisiana. In the immediate future, we need bridge loans for the small businesses that make up the tourism and cultural industries," Landrieu said. "But for the tourism industry to fully recover and thrive in the long run, Louisiana's government must be reformed. Today, I will offer my vision for how we change the DNA of government. And I also call on you, as leaders of the state's second largest industry, to become actively involved in the restructuring and the rebuild of every part of this great state."
Landrieu added, "Nothing less than a complete and total transformation of government will prepare us for post-Katrina life."
Economic Impact of Tourism & Cultural Industries: Calling tourism and culture "vital to the state's economy", Landrieu pointed to economic impact figures. Tourism and culture are two of only four industries in the state that account for more than 100,000 jobs. In fact, these industries make up 13% of the state's workforce. Without visitors, the New Orleans region loses $15.2 million per day and the Lake Charles region loses $1.5 million per day in direct tourism income. Overall in 2005, Louisiana likely will have lost over $1 billion in direct tourism revenue.
Need for Marketing The Landrieu Administration recently completed an impact study that showed Louisiana is losing ground by not effectively countering negative images about the state that have dominated the media. According to research:
Of these results, Landrieu stated, "This is why marketing is a key priority in the first phase of our initial request to Congress. Landrieu added, "Throughout the past months this industry has worked to bring over $2 billion in private investment toward the recovery of its infrastructure and assets. I am not aware of any other industry that has done more to help itself or Louisiana's economy."
Later this month, the Louisiana Recovery authority is expected to vote to provide $50 million to the Office of the Lt. Governor and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to devise a tourism marketing campaign. This would represent the first half of the overall request of $100 million needed to implement this marketing campaign over the next three years.
Small Business Bridge Loans The small businesses that make up the tourism and cultural industries are vital to Louisiana's overall economic health. Prior to Katrina and Rita, cultural enterprises were growing faster than any other sector of Louisiana's economy.
"In communities throughout the devastated areas, restaurants, museums, art galleries, live music venues, bed and breakfasts, hotels, fishing charters and swamp tour businesses, and so many other family owned businesses that rely on a vibrant tourism season are hurting," said Landrieu. "These businesses employ almost 300,000 Louisiana citizens. If we don't help these small businesses stay afloat, our citizens won't have jobs to come home to."
LRA has approved $100 million for bridge loans to be administered through the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.
The Landrieu Administration will continue to work for the small business relief grants as part of the Congressional relief package, and will work to make sure small businesses in the tourism and cultural industries are aware of the opportunity for these bridge loans through LED.
Preparing for the 2006 Hurricane Season Landrieu also talked about some of the state's most pressing needs, "With less than six months until the next hurricane season, Washington needs to step up to its central role in fixing the communication failures between federal, state, and local governments."
Landrieu stated, "We need agreement on communications technology and a clear chain-of-command that defines roles and responsibilities of every branch of government to get resources where they are needed immediately. The 9/11 Commission saw the very same problems, but they are still not fixed. That's unacceptable."
Landrieu added, "It is not just the Gulf Coast states. Georgia and the Carolinas live in fear of these storms, too. Let's get all of our allies working on both of these key issues - coastal flood protection and a fully integrated emergency response system. Together, we have 16 US Senators, 107 Congressmen, and 123 electoral votes. That's plenty of power to encourage Congress and the White House act if we are unified."
Changing the DNA of Government In his address, Landrieu also called for Louisiana State Government to change the way it operates. "Our structure of state and local government has fostered turf mentality and parochialism. Consequently, we haven't been getting the results people want," Landrieu said. "That's why many of our own Louisiana college graduates were leaving for better opportunities in other states - evacuating long before the storm. I'm talking about going in and changing the DNA of government - so that it doesn't go back to doing what it always did - and so we don't go back to getting what we always got."
Budgeting for Outcomes To change the DNA of the budgeting process, Landrieu recommends that the state use a process called Budgeting for Outcomes. This model has worked in Washington State, and under Landrieu's leadership the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism has used this method with success. In three areas of customer service, the department has shortened the approval process, improved the delivery of services and, most importantly, saved nearly $100,000 to date.
Describing Budgeting for Outcomes at the state level, Landrieu stated, "Instead of starting with last year's budget, we decide what important things we want to accomplish next year and how we'll measure our progress. And, we include citizens in the process to give their input. Then, suppose we let the various government agencies - and maybe even some outsiders - make proposals about how they would produce the results we want and at what price. If we did that the governor and legislature could go shopping for the best values with whatever money was available for the year. They wouldn't be struggling with what to cut - but what to accomplish. And, in this system, if your proposal gets funded, YOU get held accountable for delivering the results you promised."
Charter Agencies To change the DNA of government, the state could also create Charter Agencies. Iowa created Charter Agencies and won last year's Innovations in American Government Award.
Creating a charter agency would involve the following: The governor would make an explicit contract with the head of a state agency to cut costs (or increase revenues) by a specific amount, and to produce a set of specific, measurable results. And the agency head will be held publicly accountable. In exchange, the agency head gets a whole lot more authority to manage his or her business. Nothing outside the law mind you, but freedom from all the internal red tape we tend to load on government managers concerning personnel, office supplies, computer systems, travel, reallocating money, building and grounds maintenance, fleet management, and on and on. Also, the department head would get to spend any extra money they save on their own agency.
Era of Inefficient Government is Over Landrieu declared, "The era of inefficient government is over," and stated his optimism that Louisiana could be a model for reform, "We have an opportunity now - now that all change is possible - to create government for the future. Post-Katrina government. Post-bureaucratic government. Government that works better - that delivers the services and results people care about - that opens opportunities and rewards hard work. I truly believe Louisiana can become a model of policy, efficiency and government accountability for the nation if we get this right."
Support Local Government's Efforts to Rebuild Landrieu urged review and discussion of the American Institute of Architects proposal that focuses support for local governments by calling for direct assistance for governments to replace money the would have collected in property and sales tax while creating a sales tax holiday to create a better business and residential climate for these communities to rebuild.
Landrieu called upon the Louisiana Recovery Authority to make support of local government a top priority, "The LRA can not treat devastated cities the same way Congress has treated Louisiana and expect our mayors and parish presidents to rebuild."
Today's Opportunity In conclusion, Landrieu stated, "If any of us had the power, I know we would turn back the clock and stop those storms in their tracks. But we can't. And in the reality of today - here and now - I'm telling you I would not trade our opportunity for anything - our opportunity to strengthen the tourism industry and to create a government system that is entrepreneurial, efficient and creative."