Monday, June 15, 2015
Contact: Liz Swaine, DDA Executive Director
Louisiana Legislature Overwhelmingly Supports Historic Commercial Tax Credits;
More Downtown Growth Predicted
Area legislators in overwhelming numbers voted to support a bill that will provide an opportunity for even more growth and development in downtown Shreveport and in other downtowns around the state. HB 387, Rep. Walt Leger’s bill extending and preserving the state commercial tax credit, was supported by all local representatives save one and all area senators in the waning hours of the 2015 session. Two local representatives—Rep. Henry Burns (R) District 9 and Richard Burford (R) District 7— came on early as co-sponsors of Leger’s bill and were supportive every step of the way.
“History, our beginning , our foundation, needs to be preserved, Says Rep. Burns. “This foundation of maintaining our heritage will continue to inspire us well into the future!”
Rep. Burford says his sponsorship of HB 387 gave him the chance to support a real and important need. “This past session has been the most difficult one in eight years. It did not have to be so but because so few of us have remained true to our word, even in the face of adversity from the Governor’s office, the state budget was allowed to be balanced not with wise cuts smarter use of revenue but with increased taxes and bloated revenue projections. It did not work. Some of us voted for cuts, voted against this governor’s budget and we focused on areas of real need. Henry Burns and I are proud co-authors of HB 387. We believe downtown Shreveport is worth protecting. Unlike New Orleans we did not receive the millions of federal post Katrina dollars. We don’t have a downtown like Baton Rouge which has been almost literally rebuilt with state dollars. But we believe our North Louisiana communities are equally as valuable, rich in history and potential and to be treasured. HB 387 was our voice, our stand for our community and I couldn’t think of anyone better to have done it with than Henry Burns. We both hope to be serving this area we call home in the Louisiana State Senate.”
“We did a lot of outreach to our representatives and senators explaining the importance of these tax credits on continued growth, jobs and development and almost to a person, they got it.” says Liz Swaine, Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority.
Historic Tax Credits(HTC) have encouraged at least 15 projects in downtown Shreveport to date, eleven of the buildings vacant and blighted prior to construction. Investment has topped $40m, with other projects in the planning stages.
“The Lofts at 624, former Selber Department Store, 416 Cotton and 717 Edwards, and hopefully soon the Petroleum Tower, are all being encouraged on by HTC. We know for a fact that several of our larger and more game-changer projects would not have occurred without help of the tax credits.”
Downtown Shreveport and other downtowns across the state are still Open for Business thanks to HB 387, with more investment, development and opportunities coming.