Louisiana economy riding high on $51 billion Katrina funds
The April 5 NY Times describes the exceptional recent performance of the Louisiana economy in the face of record national economic woes as closely related to the infusion of federal cash during the post-Katrina era. Funding for construction projects to repair or replace damaged structures and other needs that so far add up to $51 billion has apparently kept the Louisiana unemployment rate (5.7 % in February) considerably lower than the national average of 8.1%.
The article points up the irony of the obvious benefits to Louisiana of what amounts to stimulus funding and Governor Jindal’s staunch opposition to such funding on conservative political grounds. When influential economists such as Loren Scott recognize the positive effects on the local economy of the federal funds, the chances increase for what could be a donnybrook legislative fiscal session beginning on April 27.
According to the Times, there are signs of discord on this issue within the Jindal administration. The article cites a recent statement by Paul Rainwater, director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, who praised both the Congress and the American taxpayers for their beneficence.
Unless the governor dramatically changes his tune it is difficult to imagine how our little red state can, with a straight face, continue to seek from a blue administration what Garret Graves (the governor’s chief coastal advisor) calls a $100 billion coastal initiative.