NRBIA meeting in person for first time in a year

Heard from Louisiana Speaker of the House
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 6:43 PM CDT
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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - The North Rapides Business and Industry Alliance got to meet in person for the first time in over a year to get an update from local municipalities on upcoming events and projects. Members of the Central Louisiana House and Senate Delegation also attended the meeting at Louisiana College as they heard from Louisiana Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder on what can be expected in the upcoming state legislative session.

Schexnayder was lobbying to centralize sales tax collection in Louisiana. He said Louisiana is one of three states that currently doesn’t have a centralized state sales tax collection system. Local governments currently handle that, but Schexnayder’s constitutional amendment would create a state-wide entity to oversee sales tax collections.

The legislature and governor will have to sign off on it for it to pass and with it being a constitutional amendment, the voter will have to approve of it as well.

City and parish officials also spoke at the meeting to give updates on businesses and to hear reports from the local economies.

Rapides Parish School Superintendent Jeff Powell said he is expecting 1,500 high school students to graduate in May and is hoping that local businesses look to hire them to keep them in Central Louisiana. Powell says he’s wanting students to have a plan by the end of May to either attend a local college or find a job in the area.

Also at the meeting, District 27 State Representative Mike Johnson acknowledged some of the new businesses that started up in Rapides Parish during the pandemic. One of those businesses is Clean Finish Car Wash which just opened up last month in Pineville. Randy Ponthie is one of the owners of the company and said he’s expecting all of the new businesses to thrive as the economy in Central Louisiana is starting to open back up.

“Opening a project of that scale, there’s always going to be some curves and some difficulties but I will say, relatively speaking, it was quite easy,” said Ponthie. “Right now people might not be able to go on vacations and do a lot of luxury spending so a nice clean car can be a small luxury that you can have and a nice treat during COVID-19.”

Ponthie says they are looking to add more car washes to other areas in Rapides parish including one in Alexandria.

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