State Senator Barrow Peacock (R-Shreveport) says redistricting session highlights the need for a more pro-business environment.
“As a state we need to have an environment that will allow us to have a growth in jobs and provide a framework from a legal and tax basis so that our businesses will flourish and will increase employment that will benefit our families and friends who live in our state,” Peacock said.
The Louisiana Legislature held a special session in February on the districts for the Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives, Louisiana Congressional districts, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), and the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC).
For Shreveport-Bossier representation, the area is losing a state senator.
There are currently four in the area and, starting in 2024, there will be only three who are mainly focused on the Shreveport-Bossier area.
This change is due to a lack of growth in north Louisiana’s population, which Peacock said comes down to a lack of commitment to building a community that gives residents reasons to live and work in the area.
“We love our great state of Louisiana and we love our families, but without a pro-job environment, we will continue to see our families and friends having to move out of state for work,” he said.
An example of the consequence of this outmigration is that in the House of Representatives, a district representing portions of DeSoto, Red River and Natchitoches parishes is being lost to the New Orleans area.
“We have known that people moving out of our state for jobs is a problem and the result of outmigration is less representation for north Louisiana. Until we can make changes in policy at the local and state levels, outmigration will continue to be a huge problem,” Peacock said.
Peacock notes that this lack of growth is something to be taken very seriously.
“At all levels of government, we must be pro-job growth,” Peacock said. “At the state and local levels, we need to be appreciative of the businesses that are here and give consideration in every piece of legislation on how jobs are affected in the State of Louisiana.”
He pointed out the consistent effort to draft legislation and work with stakeholders on how to make Louisiana a better place and environment for businesses to operate in. However, he noted it doesn’t stop there.
“(That environment) includes better infrastructure with roads and bridges, investments in our ports and airports, the completion of the Inner-City Connector for Interstate 49, a new Jimmie Davis Bridge that will lessen congestion and the re-doing of Interstate 20 in Bossier,” Peacock said. “We passed a constitutional amendment last year to have a tax base that is more transparent and not as complex.”
Peacock continued by saying lawmakers need to address sales tax collection, adding, “Centralized sales tax needs to be addressed so that businesses are not burdened with red tape in their sales tax collection. We currently have 54 local tax collectors and 100 different local tax rates. This system is archaic and cumbersome.”
Peacock concluded by warning if the state continues to “punish businesses and make it difficult for them to operate” in Louisiana, they will go to other states.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed the BESE and PSC maps and allowed redistricting maps for the Louisiana Senate and House to become law without his signature.
Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the Congressional map and the Legislature voted to override the governor’s veto in late March.
— Stacey Tinsley, BIZ. Magazine