The looming fiscal cliff has dominated talks between lawmakers and the administration, but there is a regular (non-fiscal) legislative session starting in less than two months. What’s on the governor’s agenda for that?
“We’re going to do some things to make sure the climate in Louisiana is conducive to small businesses being able to flourish and thrive,” says Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“Because they really do the best job, in terms of hiring Louisianans.”
One of his first steps involves eliminating some red tape.
“We are looking at ways to end regulations that have been on the books in multiple agencies for years, without being looked at to see whether it continues to be necessary.”
He says deregulating should also include the removal of state licensing requirements for certain jobs, along with the boards that oversee them.
“You know, we have more boards that license occupations in Louisiana. I think there’s 71?” the governor remarks. “I think we’re the only state that licenses florists. I’m not sure why we do that.”
We do it because of a law, passed in 1939. It's been challenged in court repeatedly, and it was modified in 2010. Under the changes, aspiring florists still take a written exam, but no longer have to demonstrate their flower arranging skills during a day-long “practical” exam.
Edwards says his ultimate goal is to “allow people doing business in Louisiana to be able to do business in a way that’s less burdensome, less costly.” Yet the governor’s agenda also includes some things small business has consistently opposed.
“Look for us to again ask for an increase in the minimum wage, and eliminate the pay gap, which is the worst in the country right here in Louisiana — something that ought to offend everybody sitting here — between what we pay men and women, when they have similar qualifications, doing the same job.”
Representatives of Louisiana's chapter of NFIB (the National Federation of Independent Business), along with those from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) has consistently voiced opposition to any legislation offered on the gender wage gap or setting a higher state minimum wage.