A new report conducted for the Louisiana Chemical Association by noted economist Dr. Loren Scott studied the economic footprint of the chemical industry across Louisiana and found that the chemical industry continues to be one of the leading employers in our state and, given the right economic and political environments, its strength will only continue to build. The chemical industry is the no. 1 provider of jobs in Louisiana’s manufacturing sector, supports more than $79.7 billion in annual sales for businesses in our state and contributes more than $1.1 billion yearly to the Louisiana treasury, according to the report.
The chemical industry creates unprecedented growth wherever it plants root, which is exactly the type of economic stimuli Louisiana needs. In fact, for every job in the chemical industry, another 8.3 jobs are created in the state. Growth in our industry directly produces jobs elsewhere in the community, like small businesses and restaurants. That is no small feat for a state that has been struggling to recover from a recession, currently boasting the country’s slowest rate of economic growth.
In addition to the thousands of jobs the industry creates, it also brings economic input to our local cities and parishes by contributing nearly $960 million annually to local governments. This number is enough to pay the salaries of 40 percent of Louisiana’s public school teachers. It doesn’t stop there. During the next five years, more than $14.5 billion in industry investments will come onto the local property tax rolls. This means more jobs for friends and neighbors, more investment in local communities and more money going toward teacher salaries, law enforcement and improving our roads and bridges.
Looking to the future, there are nearly $90 billion in potential industry investments in our state. As we’ve seen through this study, each investment has the potential to bring thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in tax income and economic prosperity to cities across Louisiana. However, with strong competition from states like Texas, which has a unified sales tax collection, no corporate or personal income tax and does not tax manufacturing utilities or equipment, we must make sure that Louisiana is an attractive place to do business. Recognizing the importance of the industry in our economy today and fostering a healthy business environment for future growth are the first steps in this process.
Louisiana’s chemical industry is a major factor in the foundation of our economy. When we invest in the industry, we invest in our state.
Greg Bowser is president of the Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA)