Why are successful and innovative companies moving south but not to Louisiana? The states outdated and expensive tax structure plays a major factor, but so does Louisiana’s desire to protect the status quo from innovation.

Look no further than how Louisiana is treating Tesla, one of the most innovative and valuable companies in the world.

Rather than selling their vehicles through a traditional dealership model, Tesla instead sells their vehicles directly to consumers. This practice caused friction with car dealers who wanted to force Tesla to sell their products through dealerships rather than through their innovative business model.   Twenty seven  states allow some kind of direct sales from Tesla to consumers. But Louisiana’s government decided to side with the current status quo instead of allowing one of the most valuable companies in the world to come to Louisiana and bring with it jobs and innovation. In 2017, the state further clarified that Tesla is unable to sell their products to the people of Louisiana.

This doesn’t mean that there are no Tesla owners in Louisiana. Many Louisianans have found ways to skirt this law including purchasing a Tesla out of state and bringing it back to Louisiana. As part of their duty to service the vehicles operating in the Pelican State, Tesla opened a service center in New Orleans, but even that is now under attack.

The Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission, an unelected unaccountable commission appointed by the Governor and consisting of representatives for the traditional vehicle industry, is attempting to shut down the loan service center. How this would protect consumers or help the people of Louisiana is anyone’s guess.

This kind of action is unfortunately too often par for the course in Louisiana. The state was one of the last states to enact a state framework for ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, due to the lobbying of the taxi industry. When innovative companies try to move in, special entrenched interest too are successful at keeping them out.

If Louisiana wants to attract innovative companies or the next wave of innovators, this mindset has to change. With people and businesses leaving California and New York for states like Texas and Florida, Louisiana is not even showing up on the radar due to how it treats innovators like Tesla. Even Michigan, home of the “big three” auto dealers has decided to embrace some innovation and allow the sale of Tesla vehicles.

The motor vehicle commission should allow the Tesla service center to continue to operate and the legislature should pass a law allowing the sale of Teslas directly to consumers. It would be one small but important step in favor of innovation and against the broken status quo.