Chamber: Higher taxes, promoting growth

Festival time is here and the weather has been fantastic.

First, and most important, residents and businesses have proven resiliency yet again as they rebuild from the recent weather events.

Thanks to our neighbors within and outside of parish lines that came to their rescue to provide help and support.

Secondly, everyone was anxiously awaiting the results of the state legislation during the special session.

The question was never if we were going to be spared new taxes, the question was how much.

During this time, our Public Policy Committee worked diligently with our legislators in Baton Rouge to serve as your voice on the behalf of business and industry.

They worked closely with neighboring organizations such as GNO, Inc., LABI, and even our neighboring chambers of commerce.

As you know, we have more coming post regular session.

We urge all of our businesses to voice your concern to your local and state legislators.

Let them know how their decisions will impact your day to day operations as well as your future sustainability in the river region.

Our Public Policy members are still in contact representing the business and industry and your participation is welcomed.

The important piece is that we all understand our call to action and the need to follow through.

Last week, the RRCC hosted the Annual Parish President’s Forum at the Belle Terre Country Club.

The event was sold out, with more on a waiting list.

The parish presidents were asked questions such as upcoming local tax renewals, transportation, economic development and the ever popular levee and drainage project status.

All three leaders were in agreement that a regional partnership gets the job done quicker – both St. John and St. James are working with state officials to have their levee projects a part of the Governor’s Master Plan of 2017.

St. Charles is continuing to lobby with federal delegation to get the matching dollars for the parish’s west bank levees.

As mentioned earlier, the hit to the state’s revenue has all of the parishes keeping an eye on the Inventory Tax.

All parishes will be negatively affected if the Inventory Tax is diminished and it is still unclear if the tax will be touched at all.

Again, there is speculation the topic will come back during the proposed special session after the current regular session.

Finally, we do have several valuable services coming to the small businesses in our river region.

Our membership is made up of 70 percent of small businesses.

And after the survey results from the membership were reviewed, we listened to the request of bringing additional education and resources to our members.

Therefore, coming in the summer and fall, the RRCC Business Development Taskforce is partnering with the LSBDC and 10KSB to host two exciting topics for business growth: “Pathways for Growth: Plotting your business growth curve” and “Financial Forecasting for Growth.”

Sustainability is important as we deal with economic strains and customer demands.

Stay tuned, in addition, for focused networking opportunities and fun filled Chamber Perks.

Thank every one of you for supporting our local Chamber.

 If ever I can be of service, please give me a call.

Your success is our No. 1 priority.

-Annette Wray


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