As the vaccine flows into arms and Americans and they return to their normal lives after the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has begun to boom. In March, more than 900,000 jobs were added to the economy lowering the unemployment rate to 6 percent, down almost an entire percentage point from the start of the year.

Although the American economy has taken off, Louisiana’s unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the nation at 7.3 percent. But Louisiana’s high unemployment rate is only a snapshot of Louisiana’s terrible economic troubles. The Louisiana civilian labor force, or those working or looking for work, has decreased by 76,600 from March of 2020. Additionally, the number of employed Louisianans has decreased by 133,000 during the same time frame. With the large job gains from February to March, Louisiana managed to only add 3,000 jobs.

The reasons for Louisiana’s struggles are well known. The state has an overly complicated and burdensome tax structure that discourages investment and job creation. Its income tax burdens on residents remain some of the highest in the Southeast, driving away high earning individuals to states like Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. Furthermore, burdensome regulations like occupational licensing and reams of red tape push entrepreneurs to more regulatory friendly states.

Thankfully, some key reforms have caught fire at the capitol. Various tax reform proposals would flatten and lower tax rates and streamline collections. But there is a long and rocky path before these bills become law.

Given the recent economic numbers, It is clear that legislators and the people of Louisiana need reforms to create jobs and opportunity in the Pelican State.