Shreveport Bossier business leaders have joined a Blue Ribbon Panel to help the Governor to discuss ways to avoid a budget crisis next year when temporary taxes fall off the books.

The "fiscal cliff" could send Louisiana in the hole to the tune of 1 billion dollars. Governor John Bel Edwards wants to hear from business leaders about possible solutions to this financial dilemma.

The Governor says

We have an obligation to the people of Louisiana to come together to avoid the fiscal cliff that is quickly approaching. My administration has been working to find a combination of spending cuts and revenue options that will stabilize our state for the long-term. To date, we have cut more than $600 million in spending and worked to make government more efficient. We are beginning to see signs that our economy is rebounding and unemployment is on the decline, but we have more work to do to sustain the recovery and build a strong foundation for future growth.

KEEL News reached out to some of those leaders in the meeting and we have learned everything is "on the table" as a possible solution to the fiscal cliff. This includes the sales tax, a higher gas tax and more cuts to state government.
We asked if the Governor seems to be listening to the suggestions and were told yes, he does want to hear all opinions about ways to solve the budget problems.

The meeting this week was the first in what is expected to be a series of meetings with this high powered group.

The Governor added:

Today, I continued an ongoing conversation with business leaders from all across Louisiana about what we can do to provide long-term predictability and stability to our state’s budget and finances. Their input is critically important as these business leaders are on the front lines – creating jobs and working to build a strong economy. It’s their ideas, combined with the input from legislators and other community leaders that will, hopefully, guide us as we look for consensus to avoid the fiscal cliff. I appreciate these individuals taking the time to be engaged and offering constructive input in this process, and invite them to continue to offer advice and partner with my administration as we move forward.

The Shreveport Bossier business leaders on this panel are:

Wayne Brown
Brown Builders
Bossier City, LA

Christopher Kinsey
Kinsey Interests
Shreveport, LA

Phillip Rozeman
Cardiovascular Consultants
Shreveport, LA

Margaret Shehee
Kilpatrick Life Insurance
Shreveport, LA

Linda Biernacki
Fire Tech Systems, Inc.
Shreveport, LA

The other members of the panel are:

Robert Boh
Boh Brothers Construction Company, LLC
New Orleans, LA

Ayres Bradford
Lincoln Builders, Inc.
Ruston, LA

Karl Connor
BP America
New Orleans, LA

Calvin Fabre
Envoc
Baton Rouge, LA

Art Favre
Performance Contractors
Baton Rouge, LA

Lester Hart
Nucor Steel Louisiana, LLC
Convent, LA

Chris Haskew
Capital One Bank
New Orleans, LA

Tom Hawkins
Atmos Energy
Baton Rouge, LA

John Jones
CenturyLink
Monroe, LA

James "Jay" Lapeyre, Jr.
Laitram, LLC
Harahan, LA

Jude Melville
Business First Bank
Baton Rouge, LA

Mickey Parenton
L’Auberge Casino Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, LA

Sonia Perez
AT&T Louisiana
Baton Rouge, LA

Tim Poche
Bernhard Capital Partners
Baton Rouge, LA

Hans Sternberg
Highflyer Human Resources, LLC
Baton Rouge, LA

Terry Baugh
D&J Construction Company, Inc.
West Monroe, LA

A representative of the Governor's Office tells KEEL News he expects the Governor to hold another meeting with this group in September.