RS 51:1032     

§1032. Legislative findings; declaration of purpose

            A.(1) The legislature finds that although the state has made strides in the past decade in reducing the poverty rate, according to statistical data published by the United States Bureau of the Census for the 2000 federal decennial census, significant portions of the state still suffer from its affects. In fact, according to such data, northeastern Louisiana, in particular, possessed some of the highest poverty rates in the state.

            (2) The legislature further finds that in many Louisiana parishes, one-fifth of the residents are considered to be living in poverty and that the following parishes possessed elevated poverty rates represented as a percentage of their total populations:

(a) Caldwell - eighteen and nine-tenths percent.

(b) Catahoula - twenty-four percent.

(c) Concordia - twenty-one and nine-tenths percent.

(d) East Carroll - thirty-nine and three-tenths percent.

(e) Franklin - twenty-four and seven-tenths percent.

(f) Jackson - sixteen and two-tenths percent.

(g) LaSalle - fourteen and three-tenths percent.

(h) Lincoln - eighteen and nine-tenths percent.

(i) Madison - thirty and three-tenths percent.

(j) Morehouse - twenty-two and six-tenths percent.

(k) Ouachita - eighteen percent.

(l) Richland - twenty-four and two-tenths percent.

(m) Tensas - thirty-one and two-tenths percent.

(n) Union - eighteen and four-tenths percent.

(o) West Carroll - twenty and six-tenths percent.

            (3) The legislature further finds that economic development and medical services, specifically targeted and well-coordinated, have proven to reduce poverty, foster economic growth, and increase the quality of life for all the state's residents.

            (4) The legislature further finds that the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 authorizes up to forty renewal communities throughout the United States wherein businesses would be eligible for tax incentives, of which four communities were secured by Louisiana. These renewal communities consist of the north Louisiana rural renewal communities region, the central Louisiana rural renewal communities region, the Ouachita urban renewal communities region and the Orleans/Jefferson urban renewal communities region. Although a total of twenty-eight parishes were included within the four regions, a significant number of the remaining parishes continue to be economically disadvantaged.

            (5) The legislature further finds that certain depressed regions of the state need the particular attention of government to help attract private sector investment into these areas, as well as many local economic efforts which could benefit from a coordinated and well-managed plan of assistance provided by the departments of the state dedicated to the economic and medical well-being of its citizens.

            (6) It is declared that the effective administration and coordination of economic development within the economically disadvantaged regions of the state is the sole responsibility of the Department of Economic Development which, by state law, is charged with fostering targeted economic development in priority economic development zones.

            (7) It is further declared that the rendering of health and medical services for the prevention of disease within the medically disadvantaged regions of the state is the sole responsibility of the Louisiana Department of Health, which by state law, is charged with administering health care programs within priority health care zones.

            (8) The legislature further finds that education, which serves as a vital means to attaining employment, is critical to the elimination of poverty in this state.

            B. In order to meet the needs of these disadvantaged parishes, the legislature hereby creates the Strategic Plan to Combat Poverty, hereinafter referred to in this Chapter as the "plan".

            Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 44, §1, eff. April 18, 2002; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 162, §3, eff. April 26, 2002; Acts 2005, No. 404, §1.