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The founding director of the Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Public Policy Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the newest member of the state’s income forecasting panel.

Dr. Stephen Barnes’ appointment to the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference was announced Wednesday, Sept. 25. Other committee members include the governor, the president of the state Senate, and the speaker of the state House of Representatives.

The forecasting panel determines multiyear income projections used to create the state budget.

Barnes is only the second person to hold the independent economist slot on the committee since its inception in 1987. He replaces LSU economics professor Dr. Jim Richardson.

Barnes was among three finalists. The list included Dr. Gary Wagner, a professor of economics in UL Lafayette’s B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

Barnes joined LSU’s Department of Economics in 2009, and was director of the university’s Economics and Policy Research Group.

He became Blanco Center director in August. The policy center and archive honors the pathbreaking career of Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, a 1964 University graduate and the only woman to serve as Louisiana governor.

It houses Blanco’s gubernatorial papers, and contributes interdisciplinary, independent research to a host of public policy areas.

Photo caption: Dr. Stephen Barnes is founding director of the Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Public Policy Center and the newest member of the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)