New Orleans Chamber
Annual Meeting & Business Luncheon
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards
Upon taking the oath of office, Gov. Edwards inherited the largest budget deficit in Louisiana’s history, following years of budget mismanagement, which included cuts to higher education and vital state resources and services. In 2016, the state faced a $1 billion shortfall to close out the last quarter of the fiscal year. And in 2017, the state faced a $2 billion deficit in the governor’s first full fiscal year.
Gov. Edwards and a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers worked hard to stabilize the state’s budget through a balanced approach. Today, higher education funding has been restored, the state’s gross domestic product is the highest it’s ever been and Louisiana’s budget is balanced and stable.
One of the governor’s top priorities coming into office was comprehensive criminal justice reform. For decades, mass incarceration plagued Louisiana, and the state led the nation in incarceration rates. Gov. Edwards signed sweeping bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation in 2017 that targets recidivism and invests in treatment programs. In 2018, the state saw a 20 percent decrease in the number of people imprisoned for non-violent crimes. Under his leadership, Louisiana shed the title of the most incarcerated state in the country.
Gov. Edwards continues to do what the people sent him to Baton Rouge to do: Put Louisiana First. Hundreds of thousands are insured, Louisiana’s budget is stable, and Louisiana is open for business.