Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a media briefing on Thursday to share his proposal for the American Rescue Plan.
The briefing began at 3:30 p.m.
The governor outlined his plan for spending $1.6 billion in federal funding that is coming to Louisiana through President Biden's American Rescue Plan. Edwards said his plan to keep the state on the road to post-pandemic recovery involves investing in infrastructure, keeping the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund solvent, addressing Louisiana's aging water system, assisting the tourism industry, and supporting Louisiana's ports.
Louisiana is awaiting final guidance from the federal government on spending the ARP funds; the $1.6 billion represents the first amount of funding that the state will draw down, with additional funding being used to address long-term priorities in future years.
"At our COVID-19 bottom, Louisiana's economy was generating about 86 percent of our pre-virus economic output. Today, we're back to more than 94 percent of pre-COVID levels, and growing. There is no doubt that Louisiana is on the mend, but we still need some help in order to make a full recovery. By investing these American Rescue Plan dollars wisely, we can shore up our unemployment insurance trust fund and avoid businesses paying higher taxes, continue to chip away at Louisiana's backlog of infrastructure projects, support our tourism industry and improve our aging water infrastructure," Gov. Edwards said. "I am deeply grateful to President Biden for his commitment to helping Louisiana kickstart its economy again after the crushing blow dealt to our country by the COVID-19 pandemic."
"I'm so thankful the Governor recognizes the importance of tourism and supports our efforts to reignite the state's fourth largest industry," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. "As every destination on the globe fights for potential visitors, these funds will give us the means to advertise and market our great state during a time of unprecedented competition. We want Louisiana to stand out from the crowd as a top travel destination."
Gov. Edwards' says his priorities for the first $1.6 billion are:
- Shoring up the Unemployment Trust Fund – $400 million
- Unemployment Insurance loan payment – $230 million
- Infrastructure – $400 million
- Water and Sewer Systems – $300 million
- Tourism and Convention and Visitors Bureaus – $125 million
- Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism – $20 million
- Louisiana Ports – $50 million
A live stream of the press conference can be viewed below:
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