Looking Back at Better Times


Jimmy’s Corner

by Jimmy Couvillion
Ten parish area data

Northwest Louisiana’s ten parishes will definitely have a long and high hill to climb comparing years 2000 and 2004.  If you have been around government lately, you have been told that we are doing better then the rest of the country because we are so diverged in jobs and good working people. While we have a lot of good workers still calling Northwest Louisiana home, job opportunities are failing to keep up with a slow population growth. Car and truck dealers in Northwest Louisiana are all behind in sales except in Desoto Parish with a dismal 3 percent increase over seven years of sales. Get ready to hear about tax revenues to government increasing because of the increases in construction.  Don’t believe it. Only Webster Parish had an increase in both commercial and residential construction between the years 2004 to 2010. Webster’s commercial construction was up 13 and residential up 25 percent. Claiborne has a 173 percent increase in commercial construction and zero for residential.

The very low percentage of population increases to jobs is proportional.  Bossier increased its jobs by 14 percent with an increase in population of 19 percent. Caddo increased its jobs by 2 percent with a 1 percent increase in population over ten years 2000 to 2010. Lincoln Parish increased its population by 10 percent and lost 3 percent of its jobs. Red River Parish managed to lost 5 percent in population and gained 14 percent in jobs.

While car and truck sales over the seven years 2004 to 2010 in all parishes are down except Desoto Parish, retail sales in some parishes have gone through the roof.  The following four parishes had these gains: Bienville 318%, Desoto 583%, Red River 168% and Sabine 358%

Here are the remaining Retail Sales figures percent increases: Bossier 49%, Caddo 40%, Claiborne 11%, Lincoln 3%, Natchitoches -48% and Webster 31%.  Governments like to talk about annual increases on averages of 5% per year. A 5% increase each year over 7 years equals a 35% increase. Bossier, Caddo and Webster made the governments 5% while Claiborne, Lincoln and certainly Natchitoches with a decrease of 48% have challenges ahead. We can hope these parishes are not totally dependent on sales tax for revenue. These three parishes have decreases in residential construction equal to 20 % as well.

These statistics are derived from the historical parish tables LSUS Center of Business Economics Research. In comparing Louisiana to its neighboring states, which we must compete, the only Texas and Mississippi need our close attention.  Texas is ranked 7 and Mississippi

While most of us realize that stagnant economies and stagnant population have a lot in common. Caddo officials praise our Bossier and Caddo economies and talk about all those employed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Cyber jobs, the jobs in the health industry and all the State workers employed in Caddo and Bossier. They are more than happy to paint a steady secure job market. Once again, Bossier increased its jobs by 14 % and Caddo 2% over 10 years. We had poor performances before the year 2010.

States are reported to do well when they rely on corporate and individual income tax.  Louisiana is depending more each year on sales tax.  A tax that affects the poor to a greater extent in relationship to taxes paid to total income, than higher income taxpayers.  Louisiana is ranked 32 in the business friendly category, therefore increasing jobs, by bring them in, is an uphill battle.

Don't expect too many quick changes!

The sky is not falling, but just be realistic the clouds will be around for a while.

To see how Louisiana is falling behind and, to determine the trend (LINK)

Louisiana Tax Climate reported by The Tax Foundation (LINK)