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What is stifling Louisiana’s growth?

by David Specht

I had the pleasure of meeting with US Senator Bill Cassidy Thursday. During the meeting, Cassidy highlighted the recent news of 4% economic growth nationally. It was almost a full percentage higher than expected.

As he was speaking, I wondered to myself, “Did we see 4% growth in Webster Parish’s economy?“

Looking around, without the benefit of hard numbers, I would say we are stagnant. So why isn’t Webster Parish like the rest of the country?

The city of Minden continues to report that sales tax collections are exceeding budget and exceeding previous years’ collection. But City Clerk Michael Fluhr is quick to caution everyone that those numbers are mostly from the collection of delinquent taxes.

Therefore, we cannot attribute the larger sales tax collection numbers to economic growth.

The fact that Louisiana has one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation could be hurting economic growth in our state, and by extension, Webster Parish.
Is it also possible the uncertainty in the state budget over the past several years also hurts
economic progress?

I have used this space on several occasions to lobby for a constitutional convention in Louisiana.

The opposition to such a convention makes some very valid points. But something must be done.

In my personal life, whenever I clean a closet or other area, I take everything out of it and place it outside. I take everything off shelves, hooks, etc.

After cleaning, I place only the necessities back in the room or space. Each time I do this, I find many things that I’ve accumulated over the years that are no longer necessary.

I believe the same approach needs to be taken at all levels of government. We need to take everything out and only place back that which is absolutely necessary.

Due to the constraints of the current constitution, such an approach would be a very difficult task if not impossible.

I believe the time is now to clean out, clean up, and streamline things. It would be sad if the rest of the country leaves Louisiana behind because we are unable, or unwilling to make significant changes.

David Specht Jr. is Editor and publisher of the Minden Press-Herald.

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