Should Louisiana offer incentives for people to move back from out of state?

The Louisiana State Capitol is full of history and may be worth a second visit.
The Louisiana State Capitol is full of history and may be worth a second visit.(Dave McNamara)
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 5:12 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RUSTON La. (KNOE) - Should Louisiana offer incentives for former residents to move back from out of state?

The West Virginia State Senate approved a plan for the state to offer qualified former residents $25,000 in tax credits to move back to the state.

In Louisiana, State Representative Michael Echols (R-14) says he does not support a similar plan, instead saying the state needs to become more business and worker-friendly.

“Most states that are successful right now, like Florida, like Texas, like Tennessee, no personal income taxes,” Echols told KNOE. “That’s one tool we need to look at. We are studying it right now.”

Echols says states that have eliminated the income tax are experiencing a population boom.

According to the 2020 census, states like Florida (15.9%) and Texas (14.6%) have experienced double-digit population increases since 2010. Louisiana experienced a 2.7% increase.

In addition, Echols says lawmakers need to make it harder for businesses to be held civilly liable in case of accidents.

“I think a better business climate is something we have to work to achieve,” Echols explained. “We have tackled some small portions of torn reform, but it has to be bigger going forward to make it a less litigious climate in Louisiana.”

In 2021, Ruston launched a $10,000 incentive program to recruit Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University back to Lincoln Parish. The city has enough money for 25 participants, but they have received 211 applications.

“It’s our opportunity to draw back the knowledge-based workforce that was cultivated at our two universities,” said Andrew Halbrook, Ruston’s Public Works Manager.

The program in Ruston is only open to people who work remote jobs.

“25 high paying typically technology-centered jobs that would otherwise not be in Ruston,” Halbrook told KNOE. “These are sales tax dollars. These are property tax dollars. These are income tax dollars for the state of Louisiana.”

Halbrook says the success of Ruston’s program should serve as a blueprint for other cities and the state.

“We wanted to give other individuals an opportunity, an incentive to come back,” said Halbrook. “We think it’s just a little push, a little nudge in the right direction, that gets the ball rolling for them.

Echols adds centralizing the state’s sales tax structure would make Louisiana more business-friendly.