The latest candidate forum took place on Friday, January 15th at Loyola University New Orleans and had as the central topic public corruption.
Since the beginning of the mayor’s race candidates have shed light on the worse features of New Orleans, public corruption being just one of them. Acknowledging the city’s weaknesses and proposing solutions are essential steps for a better New Orleans. However, addressing the problems only during the mayor’s race and forgetting about them after Election Day is not effective.
Corruption should be constantly controlled and minimized. The passion with which the candidates outlined their plans needs to persist after the winner has been inaugurated.
Why is public corruption such a terrible trait for a city?
Not only does political corruption deny citizens the ability to rely on their local government, it also limits the city’s economic growth. Looking at New Orleans it seems clear that corruption goes hand in hand with a low economic growth rate. A high level of corruption has been associated with a low level of investment, which then causes a lower per capita income. Political corruption behaves like a tax by diminishing incentives to invest, reducing the effectiveness of government expenditures, and limiting economic growth. Overall, corruption is a negative-sum game (we all lose.)
How can public corruption be minimized?
A transparent and accountable administration that discloses all public budget and contracting information would reduce the incentives and opportunities for corruption. What’s more, reducing the power of public officials would eliminate incentives to demand bribes. Transparency and limited government have to be on politicians’ agendas in order to effectively fight corruption in New Orleans.
It was encouraging to hear six out of six candidates stress the need for transparency along with full disclosure of information. They also expressed the need to increase the accountability of the local government and guarantee zero tolerance on corruption. These are essential elements for an honest, transparent administration. Will the future mayor of New Orleans keep in mind the promises and the passion with which corruption was addressed? We hope so.
More details on Friday’s mayoral forum can be found on NOLA.com.