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A primary focus within the Blanco Public Policy Center is research to support public policy with a focus on issues that Governor Blanco championed during her time in public office. These issues include education, poverty and economic opportunity, criminal justice reform, health and healthcare, the coast and environment, and governmental ethics.

We produce in-depth research reports as well as short policy briefs, which are designed to provide a high level summary of research and data related to important policy issues being discussed in Louisiana.

Offshore Wind in the Gulf of Mexico: Natural Resource Revenue Potential

The Gulf of Mexico has long played a central role in energy production for the United States. Recent efforts by the federal government to establish offshore wind developments around the country have created a new opportunity for Gulf of Mexico states like Louisiana and Texas to leverage existing offshore industry strengths, generate renewable forms of energy, and potentially tap a new source of revenue. This report explores the new frontier of offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico with a focus on the regulatory framework for federal and state wind leases and how a suite of upcoming lease sales by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could generate new sources revenues similar to those seen from offshore oil and gas leases.

Download the Gulf of Mexico Wind Revenue Policy Brief Here

Download the Gulf of Mexico Wind Revenue Research Report Here

Evaluation of Adjunct Faculty Pools to Expand Nursing Education

Nursing shortages have been a long-standing and pervasive challenge in the health care system, but commitments to solving them remain active. One such effort involves expanding educational
resources for nursing education and teaching. Research suggests that while the nursing workforce has struggled to retain workers, the educational pipeline is one area where interventions are likely to succeed.

The Northeast Louisiana region responded to the shortage by creating a shared pool of faculty to teach at institutions that shared a similar set of student applicants. Thus was borne the Northeast
Louisiana (NELA) Faculty Adjunct Project, supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation (BCBSLA Foundation). The program involved funding to support the
expanding of instructional capacity, which allowed the institutions to serve a larger number of nursing students and help current nursing students finish the degree and enter the workforce. The
project enrollees were 2- and 4-year educational institutions with nursing programs training to the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) level. Nursing
education was expanded through funding for the hiring of adjunct faculty at 3 programs in the region: Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC), Louisiana Tech University (LA Tech), and
University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM).

The current report is an evaluation of the project implementation and performance of NELA programs. The report examines the impact of this effort by comparing outcomes in NELA and other regions within the state. The Blanco Center evaluated the program through the collection of external data on educational programs and the workforce, measuring the performance of grantee schools on data gathered from 2016-2022.

Download the Evaluation of Adjunct Faculty Pools to Expand Nursing Education Research Report Here

Untapped Markets for Louisiana Seafood

This report provides novel information regarding current challenges facing the Louisiana seafood industry, as well as insights into potentially useful strategies and target markets for capturing a larger share of the premium end of the market. Through interviews with industry representatives and quantitative analysis of seafood menus in over 50 cities, we analyze current and potential markets for Louisiana seafood. Our evaluation provides opportunities to better understand the relationship between location, seafood offerings at restaurants and grocery stores, and price.

Download the Untapped Markets for Louisiana Seafood Research Report Here


Local Taxation in Louisiana - Alternatives for Local Public Support of Child Care

This report outlines the statutory and constitutional provisions guiding local taxation, with a special emphasis on how local taxes could be used to fund expanded child care services. Child care is a critical service for Louisiana families, but one that many low-income families cannot afford. As discussed in our 2021 Policy Brief, expanded child care access would result in considerable economic benefits, giving parents more time to work and early care provides a jump start for children’s education. When compared to the state, local governments are more limited in their ability to levy taxes, but there are still many ways to generate revenue for early care. The report examines various tax types and structures through the lens of taxing capacity, tax burden and incidence, and reliability. This report provides a broad overview of Louisiana’s complex local tax code, designed as a starting point for local efforts to expand child care services.

Download the Local Taxation in Louisiana Research Report

Coastal Financing - 2020 and Beyond

This research report summarizes the findings of an in-depth analysis of the funding streams that support Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan projects. Since the start of 2020, there have been several major disruptions that have raised concerns about revenue streams used to fund coastal projects. These shocks include the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple large hurricanes, and massive shifts in supply and demand for oil and gas that have also been accompanied by major changes to the U.S. regulatory environment. The report documents major sources of revenue that support coastal projects, evaluates their underlying support, and assesses the potential impact that major disruptive events of 2020 and 2021 have had on these revenue sources. The report provides an overview of historical expenditures and highlights potential changes that may impact future revenue for coastal projects.

Download the Coastal Financing - 2020 and Beyond Research Report

Acadiana Broadband Assessment

The Blanco Center recently contributed to the Acadiana Planning Commission’s report on the state of broadband in the region: Acadiana Broadband Assessment 2021. The report summarizes the current state of broadband coverage and access as well as highlighting the role that broadband plays in economic development and quality of life. Blanco Center researchers contributed socioeconomic data for the region, information on the role of broadband in education including a summary of recent initiatives to expand broadband access for students, and input on the role of broadband in the economy throughout the report.

Visit the Acadiana Broadband Assessment Website

Transportation Policy Brief

This policy brief examines Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure and the adequacy of current funding to address Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure needs. The policy brief acknowledges the state’s infrastructure backlog and need for investment while documenting how Louisiana’s base gas tax has lost a significant amount of purchasing power since its current rate was set in 1984. The brief further compares state spending in Louisiana to national trends and demonstrates the long-term value of new investments.

Download the Transportation Policy Brief

Economics of Childcare Policy Brief

This policy brief evaluates the impact of parental absences due to child care breakdowns on Louisiana’s families and business, finding a $762 million annual loss from missed work, turnovers, and related costs and a $1.3 billion total annual loss to Louisiana’s economy. Additionally, the brief reviews the economics of the childcare sector. Louisiana’s child care sector receives some of the lowest pay in the nation and has a very limited education beyond high school. Child care employers struggle to retain talent which negatively impacts the care offered to young children.

Download the Economics of Childcare Policy Brief

Flood Protection Governance

This research report summarizes the findings of an in-depth analysis of levee districts in Louisiana with particular emphasis on the Greater New Orleans Area and the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authorities (SLFPAs), SLFPA-East and SLFPA-West. The report documents the major sources of revenue for levee districts including a detailed review of property taxes and the impacts of proposed policy changes related to taxing authority for more recently created districts. The report also includes a review of historical expenditures and the outlook for future expenditure needs in the Greater New Orleans Area to identify potential areas of improvement in regional management of flood risks to ensure community and economic vitality in this part of the state.

Download the Flood Protection Governance Research Report

GOMESA Forecast and Policy Update

Building on earlier research by Blanco Center Director Stephen Barnes, this report summarizes an updated forecast for revenues associated with the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) and the potential impact of several proposed changes to the program. This law began limited sharing of federal offshore oil and gas revenues from the Gulf of Mexico with several coastal states including Louisiana and their coastal political subdivisions. This research has provided insights to state and congressional leaders in considering amendments to the current law and continues to be the basis for an active advisory role that the Blanco Center plays on the issue at both the state and federal levels.

Download the GOMESA Forecast and Policy Update Research Report

CCAP Case Study – Affordability, Transportation, Communication

These research reports look at the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), a federally funded program that subsidizes child care for low-income families while parents are either working or attending school. While this program assists many families in Louisiana, a persistent underutilization problem has been identified reflecting families who apply for the program, are deemed eligible, but do not utilize the funds that have been set aside for their use. To better understand underutilization of the CCAP program, LDOE engaged the Kathleen Blanco Public Policy Center at UL and LSU Economics & Policy Research Group to interview families and gather additional insights about the reasons families struggle to take advantage of the program.

Download the report on Affordability, Transportation, or Communication

Mississippi Philanthropic-Grants Report

This research report examines the economic and social impact of philanthropic grants in Mississippi on the wider society and economy of Mississippi. Developed in collaboration with the researchers at the LSU Economics & Policy Research Group and Mississippi State, this study examines the question of economic benefits in two distinct ways. The first is a more traditional economic impact study for Mississippi grants capturing the immediate benefits of grant-related spending in the economy and the second is a literature-based assessment of the long-run return on investment (ROI) for different types of grant activities, which account for the broader social benefits often not accounted for in a typical economic impact study.

Download the Mississippi Philanthropic-Grants Research Report