Abortion and Louisiana’s brain drain

Abortion and Louisiana’s brain drain

The efforts to repeal Louisiana’s income tax is touted by supporters as a way to draw new residents to the state. But research has shown that people prioritize other things when looking to move, such as good public schools, quality health care and other services that we buy with revenue from income taxes.  Jacqueline Thanh, executive director of VAYLA, in a guest column for The Advocate, believes the state’s no-exceptions ban on abortion will drive even more young people, including Asian American and Pacific Islanders leaders, away: 

Given Louisiana’s shrinking and aging population, such a migration would have dire economic consequences. And it’s not a far-fetched possibility. A new poll by Axios and Generation Lab found two out of three 18-29 year olds consider a state’s abortion laws when deciding where to live. That’s going to include a lot of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing minority group in the country, according to Pew. The potential brain drain when AAPIs leave is significant. More than half of Asians age 25 and older have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 33% of the U.S. born population the same age.

The Rooney Rule failed. And spread
The National Football League’s “Rooney Rule” – named after the revered owner of the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers – requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach openings. Nearly two decades after its inception, the rule has been copied by several major corporations, even as it has failed in its purpose of increasing Black representation in the league’s coaching ranks. The Washington Post’s Gus Garcia-Roberts investigates

Long promoted as a model policy by the NFL, Wall Street’s interest in the rule skyrocketed after Floyd’s death, The Post found in an analysis of corporate filings. In hundreds of mentions of the policy since 2020, it is touted by companies ranging from Regions Bank to Lyft, which said its “Rooney Rule 2.0” accompanied “difficult yet necessary conversations to align and inspire our entire organization.” But The Post found the Rooney Rule’s broader adoption over the past decade-plus, by entities ranging from Wells Fargo to the state of Oregon to the legal community, has been plagued by familiar flaws: allegations of sham interviews, a lack of enforcement and illusory results. Once considered cutting-edge, the rule now runs counter to more recent scholarship suggesting that corporate diversity is achieved through incentives and culture-building rather than mandates.

Schroder enters the culture wars
State Treasurer John Schroder has been critical of efforts to politicize the state Bond Commission. But on Wednesday Schroder did just that, announcing that Louisiana is pulling $794 million of state investments from BlackRock because of its embrace of renewable energy technologies. It’s a puzzling move from a top financial official of a state that faces an existential threat from climate change. The Louisiana Illuminator’s Wesley Mueller reports

In a press release, Schroeder [sic] said his action is in response to recent reports that BlackRock has urged companies to embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment strategies. Schroeder [sic] believes such strategies would harm Louisiana’s fossil fuel industries and violate state law. “ESG investing violates Louisiana law on the fiduciary duties which require a sole focus on financial returns for the beneficiaries of state funds,” Schroeder [sic] wrote. “A focus on political or social goals or placing those goals above the duty to enhance investors’ returns is unacceptable under Louisiana law.”

Schroder says BlackRock is breaking a fiduciary duty to the state, yet his actions are contrary to his role as state treasurer.  That’s because global warming is an economic menace that causes extreme weather events that cost taxpayer dollars to rebuild. As The Advocate’s Mike Smith explains, it also threatens several of the states’ vital economic sectors, including its cherished seafood industry. 

Beyond cultural concerns, the industry’s $2.4 billion economic impact could also take a significant hit, those participating in the discussion said. “If we sat back and did nothing, then I think you’d see the loss of a lot of those fishing communities and those fishing families,” said Patrick Banks, assistant fisheries secretary at the department. “Some of our cultural identity in Louisiana, you’ll see start to go by the wayside.”

Transmission hurdles for offshore wind
The Inflation Reduction Act, the Democrats’ sweeping climate, tax and health care package, included billions of dollars in federal funding to propel the country’s shift toward renewable energy technology. A key component of that strategy is offshore wind power, which has the potential to create twice as much electricity as the nations’ current needs. But massive amounts of transmission infrastructure upgrades and planning will be required to get the electricity from the windmills located miles offshore into homes. Statelines’ Robert Zullo breaks down the hurdles that must be cleared in order for America to realize the potential of offshore wind:

Until fairly recently, renewable energy advocates say there’s been less emphasis by policymakers and grid managers on transmission infrastructure upgrades and the comprehensive regional planning needed to make mass offshore wind a reality, though the federal government and states are starting to come to grips with the scope of the problem. “There needs to be a lot more done than what’s being done right now and people are starting to realize that,” said Walt Musial, principal engineer and offshore wind platform lead at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “The integration of this is going to be a big job and something we have to start working on soon. These transmission projects can take longer to build than the plants themselves.”

Number of the Day
$2.4 billion – The economic impact of Louisiana’s seafood industry, which is threatened by the devastating effects of climate change. (Source: The Advocate)