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Chamber chairman repeats opposition to Senate Bill 37

L’Observateur / May 27, 1998

LULING – The Chamber’s new chairman, Sam LeBlanc III, Thursday repeated the organization’s opposition to Senate Bill 37, which aims to redistribute tax revenue from Waterford 3 nuclear power plant in St. Charles Parish.The parish, which is due to begin receiving more than $20 million from the plant after the expiration of state industrial tax exemptions, has battled Sen. John Hainkel’s attempts to strip away the ad valorem income andredistribute it according to energy customers’ serviced by Waterford.

“It’s a bad policy,” LeBlanc said, calling for universal opposition to the bill. He added, “The whole is much greater than the parts.”LeBlanc was preaching to the choir, addressing the general membership meeting of the River Parishes Council of The Chamber, with St. CharlesParish President Chris Tregre in the audience.

Tregre has been the point-man in the opposition effort for the third year now. The bill is currently stalled in committee, but Tregre said he ispoised to dash to Baton Rouge at the drop of a hat to speak out against it.

LeBlanc also spoke on The Chamber’s leading role in pushing for a better airport. As trade barriers with Cuba begin to come down, Louisiana ispoised to become the gateway of that U.S./Cuba trade, as well as with therest of South and Central America.

Presently, the New Orleans International Airport is an O&D (origin and destination) airport, a second-rank facility below that of a “hub” airport, such as Atlanta.

“We need better flights and more of them,” LeBlanc said, adding the aim is to make New Orleans a business traveler airport.

Also, LeBlanc spoke on The Chamber’s efforts on establishment of the Police Foundation, which aims to hold down crime by establishing better lines of communication between police organizations.

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