Category Archives: Blog

Advocating for YOU in Washington, D.C.

Chamber and local business leaders meet with U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson in the hall between his committee meetings.

Every year, the Bossier Chamber joins the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and other officials on a spring fly-in to Washington, D.C. Here are the key issues we discussed this week:

  • I20/I220 Barksdale Interchange
  • Red River: flooding and dredging to 12 feet

Appointments included: U.S. Chamber of Commerce; House Majority Whip Steve Scaliee; U.S. Rep. Abraham; U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson; U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy; U.S. Sen. John Kennedy; Secretary of the Air Force’s Legislative Liaison Maj. Gen. Basham, former Commander 2nd Bomb Wing; General Dynamics; Department of Transportation; Lt. Gen. Robert Elder; U.S. Rep. Garret Graves; U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond; former U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery.

BCC President Lisa Johnson on 710 KEEL
Photos from this week in Washington

LED Opens Public Comment Period On Opportunity Zones

Source: Louisiana Economic Development News

Today, Louisiana Economic Development opened the public comment period for the designation of federal Opportunity Zones in Louisiana. Part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Opportunity Zones program will establish lower-income communities across the nation as tax-advantaged areas for new long-term private investment.

LED is supporting Gov. John Bel Edwards, who ultimately will nominate Opportunity Zones in Louisiana to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. With public input, Gov. Edwards will nominate up to 25 percent of Louisiana’s low-income census tracts for inclusion in the Opportunity Zones program.

Beginning today, the public may visit to identify census tracts they would like to nominate using the online form provided. A link to the interactive map of all qualifying low-income census tracts is available on this site. Anyone who already has submitted nominations to LED does not need to repeat the process online.

The public comment period will run from March 9 through March 16, with the State of Louisiana submitting census tract nominations to the Treasury Department by April 20. Opportunity Zones seek to bolster federal, state and local partnerships in bringing more income and prosperity to the nation’s lower-income communities. The primary goal of the program is putting private capital to work for lasting economic development in distressed communities.

With that goal in mind, Congress has advised governors to consider lower-income areas where existing state, local and private economic development initiatives are underway to attract new investment and to foster startup activity. These zones can include previously designated Empowerment Zones, Renewal Communities or New Markets Tax Credits project areas.

Other prime targets for Opportunity Zones are census tracts that have experienced recent significant job layoffs, due to business closures or relocations. States are encouraged to establish Opportunity Zones on the edge of university campuses so that spin-offs of university research and technology transfer may be mobilized. Other Opportunity Zones may be designated to ensure the success of transit-oriented development projects in low-income urban neighborhoods, or to redevelop brownfield sites in rural, urban or suburban areas.

The federal government will attract private investment to the designated Opportunity Zones by providing federal tax incentives on capital gains invested in those zones. For more federal information on the Opportunity Zone program, visit

How high is Louisiana’s “fiscal cliff”?

Clancy Dubos

Exactly how high is Louisiana’s “fiscal cliff” anyway? It depends on whom you ask. Some say it’s nearly $1.3 billion, while others say it’s more like $994 million, and still others say it’s closer to $692 million — or less.

Interestingly, they’re all looking at the same cliff. It’s all a matter of perspective…

The number most frequently mentioned these days is $994 million. That’s how much recurring revenue the state will lose if the temporary taxes that expire June 30 are not renewed — and so far, everyone at least agrees that that’s how much the temporary taxes produce.

Pessimistic observers use the $1.3 billion figure, however. It includes the expiring taxes plus the cost of inflation and other adjustments such as pay raises (which lawmakers have not granted to state employees in some time). This figure is sometimes used as leverage in tax and budget negotiations, but it is quickly dismissed by conservative anti-tax lawmakers.

Many conservatives, by the way, are already using the $692 million figure. That’s based on official estimates that Louisiana will collect $302 million more in state income taxes next fiscal year as a result of changes in the federal tax code — so they subtract that amount from the $994 figure and use that as the size of the cliff.
All the numbers have some validity. Given that Republicans have a majority in both the House and Senate, the $692 figure has gained currency. It’s a lot lower than $1.3 billion, but it’s still quite a climb for many GOP lawmakers, who are loath to vote for taxes — even if those taxes are being renewed at lower rates, as proposed recently. pushed to regular session

Despite Unanimous Support, the Concept Will Have To Wait Until the Regular Session

HB 29 by Speaker Taylor Barras passed the House 104-0 last week but was awaiting action in the Senate when the Legislature adjourned Sine Die yesterday.The bill has been re-filed for debate in the regular session as HB 510.

The Senate filed its own version of the state transparency website legislation, SB 8 by Sen. Rick Ward, which in turn passed the Senate unanimously. In its final form, the bill still appeared to delay the spending transparency website until the $30 million new state accounting system is operational in three years. A similar version of this bill, SB 363, has also been filed for debate in the regular session.

Although the bills to bring transparency to government spending failed to make it through the process, the movement had considerable momentum. We look forward to this effort continuing in the regular session. Thank you to all of you who have added your voice in support so far, we will need your continued help in the coming months.

Stay tuned to take action again in the regular session!

Small businesses are pumped about the economy

Senior Editor, Digital Content
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The Q1 Metlife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index shows a surge in confidence, moving up more than three points to 66.3.

It’s the biggest jump in the Index since it was launched in 2017.

View image on Twitter

The Index found a big leap in small business optimism towards the national economy—up 17 percentage points (55% vs. 38%) since Q4 2017. For the first time, the Index shows small businesses are more confident in the national economy than their local economies (46%).

A lot of this increased economic confidence could be due to last December’s tax reform, which small businesses love:

  • 54% think it will help the national economy.
  • 47% think it will help their business grow, versus 23% who think it will hurt.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut taxes on businesses of all sizes and forms to spur investment, innovation, and boost economic growth and wages.

In response, companies—including small businesses—are taking advantage of the improved tax environment.

“The 20% discount on taxation of S-corp pass-through income will allow us to keep more money in the business, which will then in turn allow us to invest in more machinery and warehouses,” Doug Renfro President of Renfro Foods in Fort Worth, TX, told Above the Fold. “Ultimately, also, the ability to have increased profits will allow us to continue to provide outstanding benefits for our employees and their families, despite ever-rising health insurance costs.”

View image on Twitter


Renfro Foods isn’t alone. Ever since tax reform became law last December, companies all across the country have announced employee bonuses, new plant and equipment investments, and donations to local community institutions.

Some other observations:

  • 90% of small businesses expect a good year in 2018.
  • Nearly one-third (32%) plan to hire more workers this quarter. That’s up from 27% in Q4 2017.
  • 39% plan to invest profits in their business. Much of that will go to higher employees’ pay, investing in training, and hiring more workers.

“The optimism of our nation’s small businesses illustrates how much of a home run passing pro-growth tax reform has already been for U.S. workers, job creators, and the economy,” said Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and chief policy officer. “National policies like regulatory relief and tax reform are giving small businesses new hope and a greater ability to invest in their business and workers, which translates into positive growth at the community and national level.”

Bossier City a hot market

Numerous job fairs springing up in March

BOSSIER CITY — Several career fairs are popping up all across Bossier City. With each new company that opens its doors, there comes a slew of available job opportunities. Not only is Bossier seeing new growth within the realms of new business, the area is also noticing a surge of growth and expansion among existing business. In addition to the upcoming fairs listed below, the Bossier Chamber partnered with TAPS Plus (Transition Assistance Program) on an industry-specific job fair today for our local military men and women — this time for the manufacturing and law enforcement industries. Career fairs are indicative of a thriving economy and Bossier City offers its residents a multitude of prospects within the realms of job placement, including these upcoming events:

BPCC Nursing and Allied Health Graduate Career Fair

Thursday, March 22

12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Nursing and Allied Health Building

Building H, First Floor

6220 E. Texas St.

Bossier City, LA

Virginia College Career Fair

Friday, March 23

10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

2950 E Texas St. Ste. C

Bossier City, LA

Career Fair – The Blake at Bossier City

Tuesday, March 27

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bossier Parish Library Historical Center

2206 Beckett St.

Bossier City, LA


MemberMonday: BreatheAmerica



Date Established: BreatheAmerica( A Vanderbilt University model ) was established in 2012.

Number of Full-Time Employees: 16 employees, 6 physicians and 3 mid-levels

List of Services Provided:  

  • Asthma (treat babies-adults)
  1. Diagnosis by PFT,  ENO machines, and exercise challenges
  2. Exercise induced asthma
  3. Treatment
  • Allergy (treat babies-adults);
  • Other diagnosis treated
    1. Chronic cough
    2. Food allergies
    3. Penicillin allergy
  • ENT (treat babies-adults) *We have the only pediatric ENT and adult Rhinologist in Northwest La.
  1. Diagnosis thru evaluation and scope
  2. Sinus
  3. Airway
  4. Our Facial Plastics ENT does Botox, Fillers, Chemical Peels


  • Pulmonary
  1. Diagnosis using PFT and chest x-ray
  2. COPD
  3. Asthma
  4. Need for oxygen with six minute walk


  • Sleep evaluation and study
  1. Evaluation and refer to sleep study and CPAP
  • Research Department
  1. Identify and interview potential patients( can be current BA patients, referred by other MD’s, and community members)
  2. Current Studies
  • Chronic Cough(adult)
  • Ragweed allergy(pediatric)
  • Severe asthma (adult)
  • Observational Asthma and COPD study
  1. Potential Studies
    • Chronic idiopathic Urticaria


Recent accomplishment: What makes us unique is that we have all these specialists under one roof that can address any airway issue. BreatheAmerica has grown at its Bossier location on Viking Drive, expanding its hours to include Fridays from 1-5 p.m. to better serve the community!

Louisiana lands in Top 10 of Site Selection ranking

Source: BIZ

Site Selection magazine has ranked Louisiana No. 8, on a per capita basis, among states with the most new and expanded facilities in 2017.

This year’s Governor’s Cup ranking marks the ninth consecutive year Louisiana has landed in the Top 10 for investments on a per capita basis.

The Governor’s Cup measures the quantity of significant business development projects for the calendar year. Site Selection tallies the number of projects in a state that represent one or more of the following criteria: a minimum capital investment of $1 million, 20 or more new jobs created, and 20,000 square feet or more of new building space. Louisiana recorded 125 such projects in 2017. Overall for 2017, Louisiana ranked No. 4 in the South Central Region, after a No. 3 finish the prior year. On an absolute basis, Louisiana ranked No. 17 for Governor’s Cup project performance after placing No. 11 the prior year. The state has posted rankings in recent years that exceed its prior historical performance.

“As we look across Louisiana, we are witnessing economic progress all over our state, giving us genuine cause for optimism,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Today’s ranking in the Site Selection Governor’s Cup is confirmation of what we’ve always known: Louisiana is, and will always be, a welcoming, ideal location for new investment, and we remain poised and ready to compete for new projects. Louisiana’s Top 10 ranking affirms we are on the right track to create a strong business climate for new investments, new jobs for our people, and stronger communities for Louisiana families.”

Since 2012, Louisiana has attracted $178.8 billion in active capital investment projects, with $85 billion of that investment now under construction or in the engineering and permitting phases. Louisiana’s No. 8 per capita ranking included many of the major business development projects the state successfully recruited in 2017, including expansion announcements by existing companies in Louisiana and the attraction of new companies to the state.

For example, Glovis America announced a 150-job inland distribution center in Shreveport to outfit imported vehicles with equipment and exterior upgrades; Graphic Packaging and DHL announced a combined $274 million capital investment to expand a West Monroe mill and develop a 1.27 million-square-foot folding carton plant and logistics center in Monroe; Wanhua Chemical Group of China selected Louisiana for a $1.12 billion project to build a polyurethanes plant; Lotte Chemical announced the relocation of its headquarters from Houston to Lake Charles, in conjunction with a $3 billion expansion in Southwest Louisiana; and DXC Technology announced a 2,000-job Digital Transformation Center in the heart of New Orleans, ranking as the largest single economic development announcement, by jobs, in state history.

Louisiana’s 43 largest projects in 2017 represented a capital investment of more than $4.66 billion, resulting in 13,138 new direct and indirect jobs and retaining 7,714 jobs at expanding employer sites in the state.

In the 2017 Governor’s Cup awards, Site Selection also recognized high-performing metro areas across the U.S., with Baton Rouge and New Orleans earning honors among Louisiana cities. Among top-performing metropolitan areas across the country, Baton Rouge ranked No. 6 among cities of 200,000 to 1 million population. For all metros in the South Central Region, New Orleans ranked No. 7 and Baton Rouge ranked No. 9.

Louisiana now ranks among the Top 10 states in multiple business climate rankings. In November 2017, Louisiana ranked No. 10 in the Site Selection Best States for Business report, its eighth consecutive year in the Top 10. In September 2017, Area Development magazine ranked Louisiana as a Top 5 State for Doing Business for the second year in a row. In July 2017, Southern Business & Development ranked Louisiana No. 1 among Southern states for attracting the most significant capital investment and job-creation projects per capita for the ninth year in a row.

Also in July 2017, Business Facilities ranked LED FastStart® as the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program for a record eighth year in a row. The publication also ranked Louisiana as the No. 1 state in the nation for Cybersecurity Growth Potential. Additionally, Business Facilities awarded Louisiana Top 10 rankings for Best Infrastructure, Best Cost of Doing Business, Economic Growth Potential, Export Leadership, and Low Industrial Electricity Rates. Louisiana received a grade of A+ in Thumbtack’s 2017 report card on small business friendliness, with the state ranking No. 4 overall.

This week in Bossier Schools: March 3-9

Saturday, March 3 
State DI Tournament (In Memory of Late Bossier Parish Student) 
Campuses of Elm Grove Middle and Sun City Elementary
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This Saturday, March 3 is the State Destination Imagination Tournament and it’s being held in Bossier in memory of Emilie Gibson. Emilie was a big part of DI, so not only are Bossier Parish students dedicating the tournament in her memory, but they have also designed a lapel pin they will sell and donate proceeds to the Defeat DIPG Foundation. The big thing at DI — especially at Global Finals — is students from all over the world trade pins. This will be Bossier’s pin to exchange.

The state DI tournament will be held at two school campuses; Elm Grove Middle and Sun City. It goes on all day Saturday, from 8:30-3. Bossier Schools’ on-site contact for DI is Joan Turek. Her number is (318) 286-1122.

To give you some background on what DI is, students compete as teams in problem-solving competitions. It’s for 3rd-12th graders and they compete in Technical, Scientific, Engineering, Fine Arts, Improvisation and Community Service categories. Over 350 team members from Bossier Parish Schools will compete with others in the state, and nearly 100 community volunteers will serve as officials. For more information about Destination Imagination, visit

2018 State Archery Tournament 
Shreveport Convention Center
All day

Bossier Schools will be well represented at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ 2018 A.L.A.S. (Archery In Louisiana Schools) State Archery Tournament. Bossier is currently home to two of the three reigning world champions; Kingston Elementary and Benton Middle School. They, along with several other Bossier Parish schools, will be aiming for the bullseye in hopes of a win.

Sunday, March 4 
“Be Our Guest” 
Airline High School Auditorium
2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

A tale of adventure will unfold Sunday, March 4 as the Legacy Elementary Drama Club invites you to follow Belle as she discovers that true beauty lies within. Legacy has partnered with the drama department at Airline High School to present its spring production of “Be Our Guest.” Tickets are $7 at the door. Showtimes are at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 4 in Airline’s auditorium. Come be their guest and enjoy an enchanting afternoon following Belle on her journey to love.

Monday, March 5

Mayor Walker Serves the Bearkats Breakfast 

Bossier High School

7:00 a.m.

It is not everyday the mayor serves breakfast, but March 5 is not just any day. It is the start of National School Breakfast Week and Mayor Lo Walker will be at Bossier High School serving breakfast to the Bearkats. This year’s theme is “I Love the Heart!” and we greatly appreciate Mayor Walker starting his morning at Bossier High to emphasize the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. It is critical to student learning!

BPSB Scholarship Committee Meeting 
Bossier Instructional Center
5:00 p.m.

The Bossier Parish School Board Scholarship Committee will meet to review scholarship applications and choose this year’s recipients.

Wednesday, March 7
Bossier Optimists Celebrate Middle School Rising Stars 
Ralph & Kacoo’s

Two weeks ago we celebrated high school Rising Stars. Now, it is middle school students’ turn. The media is welcome to join us for lunch as the Bossier Optimist Club honors several middle school students that have been identified by school administrators for making significant improvements in the areas of school behavior, grades and attitude. This is an event where everyone leaves feeling good! Media is asked to please RSVP to Sonja Bailes if you plan to attend so the Optimist Club has an accurate head count for lunch.

Thursday, March 8 
Sun City Spaghetti Supper and More
Sun City Elementary
4:30-7 p.m.
Have dinner plans Thursday? Now you do! Sun City Elementary is hosting a spaghetti supper coupled with a book fair and silent auction from 4:30-7 p.m. at the school. The auction will feature more than 30 gift baskets valued between $100 and $1,000 and they will go home with the highest bidder. There will also be individual items up for grabs, from hotel stays and gift cards to crafted wood products, massages and more. Everyone is welcome!
Family Math Night 
Central Park Elementary
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Are you smarter than a fourth grader? Central Park Elementary will be hosting Family Math Night that puts parents to the test. The grown-ups will engage in math activities throughout the school, with their children cheering them on. After completing the games, they earn a ticket for a hot dog meal for their family.
Spanish Idolo
Bossier High School
6:00 p.m.
Back by popular demand is this year’s edition of Idolo, a talent show for Spanish students. The performances and competition begin at 6 p.m. at Bossier High. Various middle and high schools will be participating in this foreign language face-off, all to music.
Friday, March 9 
For the Love of Books
Central Park Elementary
10 a.m.
Airline High School student Spencer Favor loves books and she wants the children at Central Park to share her love for literacy, so she is delivering more than 1,500 books to the school. The high school junior is doing this because she loves reading and thinks all children need books to read at home. With help from her church and a school organization at Airline, Spenser collected a mountain of books that will be lovingly distributed to the children at Central Park Elementary.

Bossier Chamber’s first student member to donate books to Apollo

Benton High student, MIss Louisiana High School America presents books to Apollo Elementary and says BE B.R.A.V.E.

Benton High School student Jillian Maxwell, who was crowned recently
as Miss Louisiana High School America 2018, will be at Apollo
Elementary to present Be B.R.A.V.E. — an anti-bullying platform.
Jillian has started the company “Silly Socks by Jilly,”
( and for every pair of socks she sells, she
will donate a book to elementary schools.   She has sold enough socks
to give books to each Kindergarten and 1st grade classroom in the
district. Apollo will be the first school she visits to present the

In addition, Governor Jon Bel Edwards has proclaimed March 1 as “Be
B.R.A.V.E. Day” in Louisiana in recognition of Jillian’s national
platform and anti-bullying campaign of the Miss Junior High, High
School and Collegiate America Organization. Jillian is also the first student member of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce!