NUNGESSER VISITS N. LA - Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor Billy Nunguesser was in Shreveport yesterday…kicking off a weeklong visit to North Louisiana. I caught up with him before having lunch with the North Shreveport Business Association at the NW La. Technical College and I asked him about the purpose of his visit.
NUNGESSER- "Well one is to see how well we can better engage and work to drive tourism numbers up in North Louisiana. But also to talk about the private-public partnership of the state parks, hopefully bring in private businesses into the state parks to invest but also give entrepreneurs an opportunity to invest in that state park like horseback riding where they might not have the land, where they got the horses. We'll let them in the state park and offer horseback riding. Lazy rivers, things that are really becoming big for travelers. We want private partners to do that in our state parks and share the revenues with us. It's an opportunity for them, an opportunity for us to bring money into this new foundation to relieve the burden of the state parks of the taxpayers of Louisiana."
RED RIVER RADIO: Regarding the La. legislature's passing of the sales tax, what's your outlook for the future as far as the overall economy for Louisiana?
NUNGESSER: "Well I think we got to roll up our sleeves and do more to help some of the smaller communities with all these empty warehouses, bring in small business back to communities. That's a long-term effort. But I think just because we got the budget fixed for the foreseeable future, we should still work on trimming the fat, and there's a lot of fat. We cut millions out of the state park budget, we now have two state parks making money for the first time ever and we did nothing fancy. We just treat it more like a business. What we need is to not wait for another budget crisis but continue to cut wasteful spending in government every year from here on out and do more with the money we have.
RED RIVER RADIO: We are embroiled in a tariff situation, the Chinese government has issued travel warnings to their citizens about coming to the US, sort of a retalitory PR campaign. What's your outlook on that, do anticipate any blowback from such things?
NUNGESSER: "Well we've got to monitor the situation, we say 37% increase in international visits last year. And those are the visitors that are staying longer and spending more mony and visiting places like the Chenault Museum. We actually have a trip planned to China this year because young Chinese want to come to America and go where movies were shot and where people were shot like 'Bonnie and Clyde'. So we're taking a movie trail to China. We're hoping that this is a -kinda throwing it out there- sit down now and negotiate and that the President will work this out because it will have a negative effect on our farmers and on our tourism industry if it stays like it is for very long."
RED RIVER RADIO: Any other parting comments?
NUNGESSER: "No, I'm just excited to be up here, I love North Louisiana and the passion the people have for improving the quality of life up here. So if we can drive more tourists up here, they will come back just because the way the local people treat them. They treat them like they're family."