How will you promote sustainable economic development, that doesn’t add to consolidated government’s financial burden, and diversify the local economy?

John Guilbeau
John Guilbeau
Candidate for Parish Council District 4

We are no longer a single focused economy. We should not have to be reminded that government is informed by the business community and the citizens. We shall continue efforts to diversify our economy, and to do so, we must put our best foot forward: welcoming entrances into our parish/our city; clean up blighted property; repair our infrastructure, strengthen our education system; review codes, taxing structure; continue to promote our assets; continue to grow in the areas of health care, technology and in the promotion of small businesses.

Our economic strategies must embrace the four pillars of a healthy community: Infrastructure, Safety, Economy, and Education.

We need to be forward thinking in our actions — become those dreamers and no longer accept status quo. The oil industry was a drawing card and until we bring back the magnetism of our economic market, our housing market will remain stagnant!

Given the large number of vacant commercial buildings in our community, we need to engage our realtors in the collective promotion of those buildings for business development — thus, we place property back in service and those buildings do not become a burden to our community.

Citizen confidence in our economic market as well as trust in our government are worth noting.

I question: Are we over-regulated (from taxes, to construction, to licensing), is our infrastructure adequate, is access to credit sufficient, is our labor market flexible enough (single focused training), is the entrepreneurial environment encouraging enough to attract new businesses?

I sometimes feel that we are so focused on the public sector; and rightly so, we have not given sufficient attention to the private sector in our economic growth efforts. Thus, the importance of correcting those things that plague our communities so we can better focus on economic growth. I extend my appreciation to all who have come before us to make our community better — the footprints are laid — we need to build on that foundation. We have so much to offer culturally to our citizens and visitors — our heritage speaks volumes!

Roddy Bergeron
Roddy Bergeron
Candidate for Parish Council District 4

Currently, we are using business tax incentives to promote economic development, which I don't think is a bad idea. However, if it is going to be sustainable, we need to have a framework and a detailed policy in place so that we can ensure fiscal prosperity, return on investment, and equality in diversification. As a governing body, we need to eliminate any grey areas for the incentives that we offer. For instance, having a well-thought-out policy that clearly delineates how business tax incentives operate will not only eliminate uncertainty and hesitation for the new business owner but will also ensure that we are fairly allowing all businesses to participate equally, thus encouraging a diverse local economy. Further, we also need to regularly assess whether an incentive is providing its return on investment. Are those businesses meeting the agreed-upon performance criteria to receive said tax incentive? If a business isn't hiring the amount of people they say they will, then we need to draw back those tax incentives. Establishing business tax incentives and regularly assessing their overall cost-benefit will ensure sustainable growth and longevity for the businesses that choose to settle in Acadiana.