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St. Charles Business Association learns about legislative task forceLEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 12, 1998LULING – A LaPlace business owner called upon the St. Charles BusinessAssociation Thursday to get involved with a legislative task force aimed at having industry and business buy locally.

Toni Meyer, owner of River Parishes Travel Center, said industries and businesses which patronize vendors from outside the region are “a real problem,” and she added that small, local vendors are significantly impacted.

Meyer delivered a statement from Rep. Bobby Faucheux, which outlinedlegislative plans for developing a tax incentive program to promote local businesses.

In this program, Meyer said, a tax rebate based upon the percentage of their spendable dollars spent locally is being discussed. “It’s not reducingthe tax base, but growing it among vendors in Louisiana.”She also referred to a recently-released MetroVision report which outlined several shortcomings the greater New Orleans area has regarding positive business development.

These shortcomings include underskilled workers, racial and economic divisions, inadequate transportation infrastructure and inadequate international air service.

“The region is not entrepreneurial-friendly,” Meter asserted. She calledupon business leaders to contact her at her business to learn more about the task force plans.

SCBA President Emile Garlepied, who heads Garlepied Transfers and also serves as vice-president of the Air Cargo Association, informed the association members present of plans in Mississippi to develop a regional airport near the Stennis Space Center, not far from Slidell.

This, Garlepied said, would steal away thousands of jobs associated with New Orleans International Airport. He commented the state needs towrestle control of the New Orleans airport away from the City of New Orleans, and added the city had “stymied” airport growth and development.

Garlepied observed that the New Orleans airport has one of the highest landing fees of any major metropolitan airport, a situation which runs counter to any plans for airport business development.

Other speakers at the breakfast meeting included Dan Michael of Ormond Country Club, who discussed the club’s amenities, and Bob Whitman of Communities Online Inc., who unveiled the business association’s newwebsite.

Members also briefly discussed, with St. Charles Parish Councilman EllisAlexander, the Parish Council’s recent action in banning the sale of alcoholic beverages through home-occupation businesses.

Garlepied suggested the Parish Council might have studied the matter more before acting so quickly.

Member Bob Derveloy pointed out there were certain zoning criteria and state liquor license laws which were either violated or in threat of violation, and that the Parish Council acted to protect businesses legitimately selling alcoholic beverages.

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