What is PAR?
PAR is an independent voice, offering solutions to critical public issues in Louisiana through accurate, objective research and focusing public attention on those solutions.
As a private, nonprofit research organization, PAR is supported through the tax-deductible membership contributions of hundreds of Louisiana citizens who want better, more efficient and more responsive government.
Although PAR does not lobby, PAR’s research gets results. Many significant governmental reforms can be traced to PAR recommendations. Through its extensive research and public information programs, PAR contributes constructive ideas and solutions to the mainstream political thinking.
In addition to serving as a catalyst for governmental reform, PAR also has an extensive program of citizen education, believing that the soundest way to achieve political progress is through deep-rooted public understanding and support rather than political pressure. An involved public armed with independent information can help keep government honest and force it to be responsive.
PAR also serves as a government watchdog. PAR’s more than 60 years of research on Louisiana state and local government gives it a unique historical perspective, as well as the ability to monitor implementation of reforms and remind public officials of promises made.
What Sets PAR Apart From Other Organizations?
In one word–credibility.
And PAR’s credibility didn’t come easily or quickly. It was earned over a long period of time by adherence to three paramount principles:
Although other organizations also do research, the results are usually viewed (rightly or wrongly) by the press and the public as representing the viewpoint of a special interest.
Why Does Louisiana Need PAR?
- Louisiana has a significant number of far-reaching problems that require study. PAR has a full research agenda planned. Permeating the list are problems that have plagued the state for a long time: the tax structure, education and governmental ethics.
- Issues today are increasingly complex, and the state and its citizens need PAR to help sift through the myriad of conflicting information from a growing number of special interest groups and other private and governmental sources.
- PAR’s research gets results although PAR doesn’t lobby. PAR is widely respected by the media, the public and public officials in the state as an unbiased source of information. This, coupled with PAR’s extensive communications program, has resulted in the adoption of significant reforms first proposed by PAR.
- PAR plants the seed, cultivates the fields of public opinion, and lets others lobby. Because of this and the fact that political change often takes years, others often get the credit for recommendations initially made by PAR.
- One of PAR’s early presidents said the organization’s main purpose is “to put constructive ideas from an independent source into the mainstream of political thinking.” PAR has been called a “merchant of vision” and the “conscience of Louisiana.”
- Passing laws and policies is the easy part. Assuring that reforms are properly implemented often proves more difficult. Thus PAR’s “watchdog” role becomes increasingly important.
- Our democratic system of government depends upon an informed citizenry and PAR not only provides citizens with information about issues but with handbooks and guides to help make their voices heard.
PAR differs from other organizations in a number of ways:
- PAR is an independent, unbiased source of information on state and local government issues.
- PAR’s only business is research.
- PAR does not lobby or have a PAC, believing that the best way to improve government operations in Louisiana is through an informed citizenry. Louisiana government will never be any better than its citizens demand.
- PAR’s recommendations are not determined by its members or its board, but by the findings of its research studies. PAR’s research program is not designed to support a predetermined point of view but to find the truth.
- PAR can and does tackle issues others can’t or won’t.
- No other group does what PAR does the way PAR does it.
PAR Statement on Diversity
The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana is committed to improving the lives and livelihoods of the people of this state. This mission includes a focus on the conditions and causes of racial barriers and disparities. All institutions and organizations, including PAR, should look internally foremost to evaluate progress and demonstrate a path forward with their statements and actions. As a statewide organization, PAR’s mission is most effectively served by a diverse board membership, including representation by race, gender, region and professional background. PAR’s research studies should consider the potential impact of racial discrimination where it might occur in a PAR policy area. Its scope of work will include programs that seek to identify and resolve these problems. PAR’s work will set an example for discussing racial issues with facts, objectivity, frankness and respect for others.