Category Archives: Blog

Be a Fan of Shreveport-Bossier

 

Look for deals and events in May

The “Be a Fan of Shreveport-Bossier” campaign, which was introduced in 2016 by the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and its partners, will expand in 2017 to include new events and giveaways, May 1-31. The month-long celebration in Shreveport-Bossier aims to incentivize locals and visitors alike to explore local museums, restaurants and tourist attractions while taking advantage of money-saving offers.

Don’t miss all of the special events and promotions in May – check them out at www.BeaFanofSB.com.

CAT tax ends in committee but is there an alternative strategy here?

By Jeremy Alford

There is no joy in Mudville during this third week of the legislative session.

As you surely already know, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ centerpiece tax proposal was spiked (or what former Gov. Bobby Jindal referred to as “parked) by its author, Rep. Sam Jones.

For Edwards-Jones commercial activity tax, the conclusion was as foreseeable as the outcome of placing minnows in the same floating bait cage as a gang of hungry crappie.

But why wait until the end of the second day of debate, and after weeks of confrontations and abuse?

Don’t let the circumstances of this Tuesday in Capitol lore lull you into believing there’s no political endgame for Edwards. (Although that might be the case; time will show the true damage.) The governor’s losses in Baton Rouge can always be repackaged as reason that was offered to politicians who refused to hear and see. Blame, after all, can be a powerful weapon — if the electoral landscape is just right.

It’s a risky strategy, and a lot of moving pieces have to come together for the long-term messaging to be a success. But, hey, sometimes you have to roll the dice — as any proper Gov. Edwards would do. (This probably would have gone down differently had the initials been EWE rather than JBE; the former realized that politics matter, while the latter seems to be constantly swimming upstream at the Capitol.)

I can’t help but feel like another page was turned today in the story of The Other Edwards. Having the centerpiece of your policy package blocked so heavily is more fitting of a lame duck governor. Not an executive in the fourth month of his second year.

Where the governor goes from here is something we’re all eagerly anticipating.

Join us as we celebrate National Small Business Week

National Small Business Week is scheduled for April 30 to May 6 and to further support and promote the small businesses and members that run our local economies during their special week, the Bossier Chamber will participate in #ChamberChallenge17!

The Bossier Chamber staff and diplomats will be out and about during this week to support and promote our local small businesses. If you have a staff member or diplomat stop by your business, please join in on #ChamberChallenge17 by participating in a picture that the Bossier Chamber can share on our social media outlets. We want to highlight you and your business! Anyone can participate. Simply take a picture with your favorite small business in Bossier-Shreveport and use the hashtag #ChamberChallenge17. Let’s show our small businesses how much they are appreciated!

BYL students visit Capitol, Governor’s Mansion

 

The Bossier Chamber ushered 36 Bossier Youth Leadership students to Baton Rouge on Tuesday to visit the Louisiana State Capitol. This is the second year the Chamber has sponsored a trip to the state capitol for the Bossier Youth Leadership students.

The students met with area legislators as well as Louisiana’s First Lady Donna Edwards, who thanked them for visiting the state capitol and governor’s mansion to learn more about state government.

2017 State of Bossier address full of optimism

Local economist Dr. Harold Christensen, an economics professor and the director of the Center for Economics Education at Centenary College, heralded Bossier as an “extraordinarily unique economy.”

“The parish doesn’t fit with the rest of the parishes in the region or the state,” he added. It is doing better and the parish is positioned to continue this sustained growth, Christensen said.

One indicator of this growth is income from employment, which means income from people participating in the economy and workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the past 25 years, Bossier Parish has grown by about 25 percent, which is “greater than the increase in population” in Bossier Parish, Christensen points out.

And, Bossier Parish should remain optimistic about its economy as Bossier has two things that are insular, or almost completely immune to national trends – Barksdale Air Force Base and the Cyber Innovation Center. Both of these entities are not going to be a part of any downturn in the national economy, Christensen said, though he also isn’t expecting a downturn anytime soon. The “forward vision” to start CIC here in Bossier has helped this economy be more sustainable, he added. In fact, Christensen stressed his optimism for the Bossier economy throughout his presentation.

Growth was a major trend at Thursday’s State of Bossier Address as Bossier Parish and Bossier City hold the monikors of fastest growing areas in the state.

“We are growing from the ground up,” said Lisa Johnson, President/CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, “and that starts with infrastructure.”

And, infrastructure improvements were the crux of Bossier Parish Police Jury President Bob Brotherton’s presentation on Thursday.

  • Swan Lake Road improvements are in Phase I. “We are excited because this is our biggest project,” Brotherton said.
  • Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 project is nearing completion. “This project, we think, is going to be the catalyst fo development in the Parish,” Brotherton added.
  • Updates to parks and recreational complexes are ongoing, including the Lawson Bo Brandon Sports Complex, South Bossier Sports Complex and other parks within the parish.
  • The Bossier Parish libraries have received improvements in the last year, including a new roof and inside remodeling at the Central Library.
  • Other infrastructure improvements include Atkins Clark Bridge repair as well as Camp Minden overlay.

As Bossier Parish is the fastest growing parish in the state, Bossier City is now the sixth largest city in the state. “The state of the City of Bossier City and Bossier Parish is outstanding,” Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker said. “That is because we work so well together.”

Major infrastructure improvements for Bossier City include:

  • Shed Road is still under construction but the improvements will not only address traffic but flooding issues.
  • Walter O. Bigby Carriageway, the extension of the Arthur Ray Teague parkway to connect South Bossier to North Bossier without being stopped by a railroad track, is set to begin construction in 2018.
  • South Bossier Redevelopment district.
  • Viking Drive expansion to three lanes.
  • Innovation Drive will create another East-West corridor from Swan Lake to Airline Drive.
  • Airline Drive Underpass.

Infrastructure is not the only area of growth for Bossier City as businesses continue to open in the city at a rapid pace. New residential growth is booming as well.

Bossier City has much more to look forward to as the first phase of the Downtown Re-envisioning Project is set to be completed this summer, a new East Gate for Barksdale is in the works and a new, four-lane Jimmie Davis Bridge is still on the horizon. The city also is working to secure Amtrak to utilize the existing rail within Bossier City to help connect Dallas/Fort Worth to Meridian, Miss. There is currently a gap of service between Marshall and Meridian and a stop in Bossier could help fill the gap in that route.

New Member Spotlight: LoanStar Home Lending

LoanStar Home Lending opened its doors in the Bossier-Shreveport area at the end of 2016. The local LoanStar office has a great team including Sales Manager Mark Metheny and Director of Marketing Tiffany Senkel. LoanStar is a retail mortgage bank with over 30 lender relationships – not just one like a commercial bank – to help get you the right loan, at the right rate, with the right terms! The dynamic and dedicated team has the mission to deliver the ultimate home loan experience to every customer, every time! LoanStar Home Lending hosts Open House events where you can get pre-approved on the spot as well as have any of your financing questions answered from a LoanStar loan officer. For additional information on LoanStar Home Lending visit their website here and checkout upcoming Open House events on their Facebook page here.

LOGA: Governor Edward’s Chief Tax Proposal Filed 

The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association needs your help. Representative Sam Jones of Franklin has filed House Bill 628; the Governor’s chief tax proposal, the Commercial Activity Tax.

The Commercial Activity Tax, which is commonly referred too as the CAT tax, is projected to raise between $800 – $900 million more in taxes for Louisiana businesses across the state. A tax increase of this nature raises serious concern about its effect on Louisiana’s oil and gas industry.

The CAT Tax hits businesses in two ways. It not only is applied at the final sale of product, but also to all the transaction leading up to that sale. These transactions include the purchase of supplies, basic materials for production, services, as well as the purchase of equipment of which is vital to the exploration and production of oil and gas.

We request that you take a few moments to review the language of HB 628 to see how exactly this may affect your company and the way you perform your business. LOGA is also looking for individuals who may be interested, and able to testify on  Tuesday, April 25 before a House Committee meeting.

We are thankful for any assistance you can provide.

Please email me at gifford@loga.la with any question, concerns about how this may affect your business, and if you can represent the Louisiana oil and gas industry at the state legislature.

Click Here for the full text of HB 628.

Click Here for an abbreviated version of HB 628. 

Sign your business up for the Spring Veterans’ Job Fair

Bossier Chamber partnering for May event

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Coordinating and Development Corporation, City of Bossier, City of Shreveport and La. Workforce Commission to present the Northwest Louisiana Veterans’ Job Fair, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bossier Civic Center.

This job fair will be a great opportunity for you to recruit new employees with proven and accomplished work records; those who can get the job done.

GET A BOOTH: We encourage you to get a booth for this year’s spring Veterans’ Job Fair. Booth fee is $20, which includes a box lunch for two. Contact Nakeeta Demery at (225) 405-6223 or ndemery@lwc.la.gov for more information. The deadline for payment is May 5, 2017.

  • ACTIVE DUTY, VETERANS, GUARD & RESERVES, and ALL OTHER MILITARY I.D. CARD HOLDERS ARE INVITED.  OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC FROM 12-2 p.m.

Thanks to our Bossier Chamber sponsors:

 

BPCC hosts Diplomat meeting

Stephanie Jackson awarded spirit award

Stephanie Jackson, second from left, accepts the first quarter Diplomat Scott Croft Eternal Spirit Award from Bossier Chamber Diplomat leaders.

The Bossier Chamber Diplomats held their monthly Lunch & Learn on Tuesday at the Advanced Welding Building on the campus of Bossier Parish Community College. April is National Welding Month and in an effort to better educate business representatives on the importance of welding jobs in our workforce, fellow diplomats Stephanie Jackson and Beonica Rutherford-Frazier hosted the monthly meeting on behalf of BPCC’s Advanced Welding Program. The Advanced Welding  Program includes four advanced welding courses and seven program wraparound services as well as assists in eliminating the skills gap within our region.

The Diplomat Scott Croft Eternal Spirit Award was also presented at the monthly Lunch & Learn to the diplomat who goes above and beyond what is expected, exemplifies true leadership, and represents the Bossier Chamber and their business to the highest of standards. The recipient of the Diplomat Scott Croft Eternal Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2017 is Stephanie Jackson with Bossier Parish Community College.

Legislature: Sales Tax Momentum

By Jeremy Alford
As this first week of the regular session drew to a close, the very early momentum, which can always shift, seemed to be behind bills that usher in more changes to the state sales tax structure.

HB 220 by Rep. Tanner Magee, which would take the 5 percent state sales tax down to 2 percent, is getting a hard look across the Capitol spectrum. Some businesses could be better off under this concept, which makes permanent last year’s suspension of the exemptions and exclusions. It just depends on what else is eventually baked into the bill via negations.

But any hit on business utilities will send chemical companies fleeing from the concept and some manufacturers may find it worrisome as well.

Administration officials are taking a wait-and-see approach and hoping that the fiscal note arrives soon.

There are some big questions about the Magee bill, like how local governments will be treated. If the state base is decreased, what’s to keep locals from pushing their own increases to get back to the current combined rates? And will lawmakers do anything to change the local sales tax structures?

Another option on the table is Rep. Katrina Jackson’s package to remove the fifth penny of state sales tax that was added last year (HB 275) and then clean the existing pennies and expand the sales tax to new services (HB 562). The package is supported by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

It could be a struggle to convince the Ways and Means Committee to move Jackson’s bills, which could always be altered just enough to reach the floor with the understanding that the Senate will put it back into its original posture.

Extending the additional penny sales tax is a fallback position on everyone’s mind. Rep. Ted James had a bill moving the sunset from 2018 to 2020, but he withdrew the legislation earlier this week. Still, there are a number of instruments floating around that can easily be amended.

Sales tax proposals are scheduled to be heard before Ways and Means on Tuesday.