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Shreveport-Caddo lacks economic development authority - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Shreveport-Caddo lacks economic development authority

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Shreveport tops the list for cities with economic decline in 2012, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The area's GDP fell 11.1 percent. There has been some economic progress this year, but Shreveport-Caddo Parish still lacks a vital component for more success.

The hundreds of jobs announced by Benteler and Tele Performance are signs of economic development to Caddo Commissioner Linden Johnson. Johnson doesn't think the area's 2012 economic decline reflects what the future has in store for Caddo Parish as a whole.

"With these new jobs that are created, it might now be as bad as it seems," Johnson said.

Even so, Shreveport-Caddo lacks an authority or individual with the sole purpose of cultivating economic development for the future. The North Louisiana Economic Partnership acts as the area's head-hunter for business, right now. It's responsible for 14 parishes in all. Johnson says that's not good enough.

"We need a person that's focused on Caddo Parish," Johnson said. "From the Arkansas state line to the Despot Parish line, one person focused on that whole deal. Not just focused on Shreveport but the whole parish."

However, last year the parish turned down a proposed city-parish joint venture that would do just that -- the Shreveport Caddo Economic Development Authority. The city passed funding for SCEDA. The parish didn't, stopping its progress. Johnson voted against SCEDA and says the city didn't provide enough information about the venture.

"The information was sketchy. We asked for some addition information, some details into certain parts of the agreement," Johnson said. "We just didn't get them in time."

Johnson says the need for an economic development authority is recognized by commissioners and they may consider creating one separate from the city.

"Someone in Shreveport-Caddo Parish has to do economic development," Johnson said. "If it's to temporarily do something, we have to do it. That's what we'll be focusing on in 2014 and 2015."

SCEDA would cost the city and parish $1 million dollars to form, that cost would be split. Commissioners voted against it last December.

 

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