Eight years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina struck our shores, devastated our state and left the city of New Orleans in peril. Many people thought the city would never fully recover, but state and local leaders have worked together to prove the doubters wrong. What has happened in the eight years since Katrina is truly remarkable, as New Orleans has reestablished its historical position as one of the world's great cities for both culture and commerce.
When I took office, we set out to make Louisiana the best place in the world in which to live, work and raise a family. In order to do so, we immediately got to work on strengthening governmental ethics laws, cutting taxes, revamping our workforce development programs and reforming our education system so that we could create a competitive business climate. Thanks to these and other reforms, targeted state investments and aggressive business development efforts, Louisiana now ranks higher in every national business-climate ranking than it ever did prior to 2008. Nowhere in Louisiana is our hard work on display more so than in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
Since becoming our nation's first district of autonomously run charter schools, New Orleans schools have improved student achievement measures from 35 percent proficient on literacy and math tests to 63 percent. The New Orleans graduation rate now tops the state average for all students and the national average for African-American students. New Orleans is the only school system in America where educators rather than school boards run the schools and parents choose from a marketplace of competing options. In short, New Orleans schools increasingly are providing a pipeline of well-educated workers that companies from every industry seek when they are looking to invest or expand.
An expanded digital media tax credit we created has helped New Orleans to cultivate a burgeoning collection of tech startups as the city has become one of America's top new centers for entrepreneurship. This latest generation of businesses has buoyed the spirit of New Orleans and its economy, leading Forbes to name New Orleans the No. 1 brain magnet and Inc. magazine to call New Orleans America's coolest startup city. Enhanced, targeted state incentives have helped numerous startups and high-growth young firms to lead the way, including Audiosocket, iSeatz, TurboSquid and many more.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc