Shreveport Debt and Bond Rating

1. The current administration is leaving with Shreveport roughly $800 million in debt, and its bond rating having declined.  What will your administration do to overcome that problem?  (Will you raise taxes?)

Arlena Acree
The actual principal that is owed is $621 million. My plan to get our debt down is to continue what I am doing now, and that is recruiting more companies to Shreveport thus more job creation.  We must be very conservative in our spending for several years and there will probably not be any major capital projects in the near future. I do not want to raise our taxes.

Vernon Adams

Madjun Ali
Phase I Project:
Goals for the City of Shreveport
A. Appoint a "Ways and Means Committee"
B. Explore "Creative Means" that are guaranteed to pay off city's debt within four years

"Read my new taxes!"

Ed Bradley
The Bradley administration will focus on implementing our $1.6 billion plan to revitalize our City Center as well as our plan to revitalize surrounding urban neighborhoods such as Ledbetter Heights, Allendale and Martin Luther King. This 10-year-plan will not only help to pare down our ballooning debt, but will restore our bond rating, give current residents a better quality of life as well as lure talented young professionals and businesses back to our city.

Cedric Glover

Tim Goeders

Henry Hodge-Bey

Jerry Jones

Max Malone
No raising taxes.  We will start to spend the people's money wisely and we will cut out the waste, the abuse, the fraud, and social programs that are not working.

Wilson McMullan

Liz Swaine
I will only raise taxes if the citizens of Shreveport are given an opportunity to vote, and then, only as a last resort. I don't like taxes any more than anyone else who has to pay them, but we all understand that some taxation is necessary for the city to provide the services residents have come to expect. Taxes stifle business growth and productivity, taking away money that could be reinvested into the company for equipment or inventory, or that could be used to pay for employee salary increases or grow the size of the company.  Personal taxes do much the same just on a household level. Five years ago, and then again last year, residents voted to increase our city sales tax by ½-cent to pay for salary increases for police and firefighters. They knew that it was important to use their tax dollars in this way, so they supported it. Our police and fire departments are the better because of it. If the city can make a commonsense case as to why it needs additional money after exhausting other avenues, residents will often support it. If the city cannot, then perhaps that money is not necessary after all.

In terms of city debt, by the end of 2006 it will stand at roughly $600 million. If the city continues to make just the same payment each year that it has been making, 60% of that debt will be paid off in ten years. No one likes debt, but it only becomes a problem if we cannot pay it and we are in no danger of that. There has never been a time---even in the darkest days of our oil ‘depression' in the state that Shreveport was in danger of not making a debt payment. Incurring debt is a necessity for a city. There are no cities that have millions of dollars just lying around to build new sewer plants and do major upgrades to water plants, do aggressive city-wide street repairs and other things that cities must do to survive and thrive. All depend on bonding money and paying it back over time. It's very similar to buying a house. Most of us can't just write a check for the whole amount, so we put in a down payment and get a mortgage that allows us to purchase it over a period of years.

About $300 of the debt the city is carrying was incurred in prior mayoral administrations, and about $300 was incurred over the last eight years during a period of historically low interest rates. What those interest rates (some as low as two percent) allowed the city to do was borrow money very cheaply to make improvements that we see all around the city: the convention center, Independence Stadium, improvements to our water plant, new sewer lift stations, road improvements, park upgrades and much more.