[StBernard] Governor Blanco addresses the General Assembly of the World Trade Centers Association
Westley at da-parish.com
Mon Oct 22 22:01:40 EDT 2007
Governor Blanco addresses the General Assembly of the World Trade Centers Association
Good morning, delegates, and welcome to New Orleans!
Two years ago, Guy Tozzoli was looking out for Louisiana. Katrina had just hit. Our city was underwater. Guy was in Shanghai, China, when he called our World Trade Center and said, "Why don't we bring the General Assembly to New Orleans in two years?" He not only said it, he meant it, and today he delivers.
Thank you, Guy. And I'd like to thank Brian Montgomery, Dwight LeBlanc, and their teams for making this Assembly a reality. To all of the Delegates, thank you for coming to New Orleans. So many of your countries reached out to us in our time of need, and we are forever grateful.
I understand you were at the Plimsoll Club last night - enjoying a beautiful view of our port and city. This city is so much more than meets the eye. It's the birthplace of jazz, the melting pot of culture, and home to the best cooking in America.
New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region sit at the epicenter of new growth in the South. For the past four years my team has changed the face of economic development in Louisiana. I've traveled across the globe - from Europe, to Asia, to Central America, to the Middle East - in search of new business partnerships and foreign investments. Louisiana must be able to compete in a global marketplace, and the world really is our backyard. I like to travel, but your gathering makes it easy. I'm delighted that today the world has decided to come to our backyard. We hope you will stay, build new partnerships, and invest.
There is no better place to do business right now than in Louisiana. We're in the midst of the largest construction economy this nation has ever seen. The building underway employs cutting-edge innovations in science and technology. We're a hotbed for entrepreneurship and innovation. And this region, the Gulf Coast, has become an incubator for the best practices that will build the communities of tomorrow. My administration has worked hand-in-hand with the Legislature to create a pro-business attitude in Louisiana. We have:
Streamlined environmental permitting;
-Cut the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment;
-Cut the corporate franchise tax on debt;
-Cut taxes by making permanent the Investor Tax Credit;
-Cut the State sales tax on natural gas and utilities; and
-Enacted new incentives for creating quality jobs.
Louisiana is the United States' leading producer of oil and gas - we are the Energy Coast.
We are strategically positioned as a leader in commerce, both foreign and domestic. New Orleans is home to the largest port system in the entire world. The mouth of the Mississippi River, the nation's major artery for commerce, is right here in New Orleans. This river alone allows direct access to thirty-five states. Louisiana leads in the seafood industry, in the lumber industry, in the petrochemical industry, and we are making great inroads in manufacturing. Consistent progress is underway in education and research.
A key goal of mine has been expanding our capacity to compete in emerging industries. Here's just one example. Through the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, or LONI, Louisiana is now connected to the LAMBDA rail. This technology connects Cajun Country to the supercomputers of the world at the speed of light. In Lafayette, a technology corridor is forming around the Louisiana Immersive Technology Enterprise, known as The LITE Center. The superior visualization and computer modeling capacity of the LITE Center, coupled with the LONI network, puts us on the cutting edge of innovation. I've just committed additional research funding to LA Tech, an institution engaged in nanotechnology. You have all heard of NASA - the lead agency for America's space industry. NASA is designing this country's Mission to Mars out of the Michoud facility right here in Louisiana.
Sustained research investments such as these attract the information technology companies and new industries that bring new jobs. As you can see, the opportunities for investment are endless. The momentum is contagious. And we want you to join us.
In a few minutes, you will hear from Secretary of Economic Development, Michael Olivier. He will update you on the tremendous federal incentives available to new companies willing to invest in our recovery. As you return home, I ask that you keep the people of Louisiana in your hearts. Keep the promise of an unprecedented Gulf Coast recovery in your minds. And tell the world that Louisiana is coming back strong as a leading force in business and industry.
So often, it is the business community that breaks down cultural and political barriers to unite us. Business allows us to set aside our differences for mutual benefit. That is what you are doing with the World Trade Center's Association. Looking at you, I know that together, we can build a global future worthy of the next generation.
Thank you, and go out on Bourbon Street. Toast our recovery. Have fun. And enjoy your stay.
The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation
Louisiana's Fund for Louisiana's People
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