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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.