The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on May 31, 1988 · Page 11
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 11

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Shreveport, Louisiana
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Tuesday, May 31, 1988
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Page 11
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(The (Times Tuesday, May 31. 1988 IB Historic building work in jeopardy DIIIEFCASE Union membership down in the U.S. Union membership among U.S. manufacturers continued its downward trend in 1987, declining 2.7 percent from 1986, while manufacturing employment remained almost unchanged, according to Grant Thornton's Ninth Annual Manufacturing Climates Study. In 1987, union membership in the 48 contiguous states was 4,870,100, compareed with 5,005,100 in 1986, a loss of 135,000. In Louisiana, union membership decreased from 20.84 percent in 1987 to 21.47 in 1986. The states that lost the most members were located in the "industrial heartland" Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. Home prices vary in '88 Median prices for ex isting single-family homes ranged from a low of $51,100 to a peak of $198,400 during the first quarter of 1988, according to a na tionwide survey by the National Association of Realtors. Honolulu, Hawaii, was the price leader and Louisville, Ky., was the lowest. Also, 16 areas showed price declines from the first quarter of 1987 to the first quarter of 1988. The majority of the declines were in the South, Midwest and West in financially-tenuous sections heavily dependent either on oil or farming economies. Leadership classes set Applications are being accepted through July 1 for the Leadership Shreveport-Bossier program's 1988-89 class. The program provides day-long sessions focusing on a cross section of the area's public issues. The class meets one day each month from September through May. . A representative group of about 35 will be selected from business, government, professions, education, religion, civic groups, the arts, organized labor, minority organizations and community groups. Tuition is $600. Businesses and other organizations usually pay the tuition for their nominees. The program is cosponsored by the Shreveport and Bossier Chambers of Commerces, Centenary College, LSUS, Bossier Parish Community College and Southern University-Shreveport-Bossier City. Suggestions save money Employees with suggestions on how to increase productivity saved their companies more than $2 billion in 1987, according to the Annual Statistical Report by the National Association of Suggestion Systems. NASS reporting member organizations made nearly $150 million in award payments to their employees during 1987 a 10 percent increase over the $136 million paid in 1986. REMAX opens in area REMAX International has opened an office in the American Bank Building on Mansfield Road in Shreveport and is scheduled to relocate to the Sterling Center on Bert Kouns Industrial Loop in June. REMAX is a real estate organization that currently operates 1,200 offices in the U.S. Heading the local offices will be Michael L. Drysdale, broker; Mary Hugh, area manager; and Marge Culver, administrative director. SP gets safety award , Southern Pacific Transportation Co. has been presented the gold medal E.H. Harriman Memorial Award for employee safety in 1987. This is the second consecutive year SP has received the award. The award is based on the lowest casualty rate per 200,000 employee-hours worked. From Staff and Wire Reports Sales of lawn and garden products up The total U.S. sales of lawn and gardening products jumped from $1 1 .9 billion in 1983 to more than $17 billion in 1987. RETAIL SALES OF LAWN AND GARDEN PRODUCTS, 1983-87 In billions of dollars.- $17.5" $14.2 $14.2 $11.9 $12.1 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 SOURCE: National Gardening Association InloGraphtcs ' i 1988 North America Syndicate. Inc By KEVIN DOYLE The Times People who like to see Shreveport's historic buildings saved worried that the Tax Reform Act of 1986 would shut the spigot on renovations. The local economy did that instead. But all signs indicate the new tax code the one that made this year's tax season so memorable will make such renovations rare even in good times. Since passage of the tax code "we've seen only one project done locally," says Bruce Kevil, executive director of Shreveport's Downtown Development Authority. A survey conducted by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which deals with historic preservation, indicates the trend is not just Shreveport-Bossier's. The number of approved projects dipped 35 percent across the country last year over the year before. What's the problem? "People who can afford to do the projects can't take advantage of the tax break," says Mary Nesbitt, owner of Nesbitt Management Co., who backs downtown revitalization. The new code: Lowers investment tax credits for older and historical buildings. Limits the pool of investors for such projects by limiting investment tax credits from passive income, a category into which most real estate deals fall. Passive income includes investments where the investor doesn't have an active role in operation or management. Caps usable passive income credits from historic rehabilitation at $7,000. Limits ways investors can credits from passive income to offset other, regular income. Result: Those who have the income to invest have no incentive to do so. Which means deals are harder to put together. So far, the only relief on the horizon is proposed legislation. In March, 13 members of Congress, including Louisiana's Lindy Boggs, proposed changes that would essentially restore incentives for historic buildings and low-income housing. The effort is cheered by developers and fans of historic preservation. Barbara SoRelle Bacot, architectural historian for the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism's Division of Historic Preservation, likes it because she believes that the new tax rules have hurt Louisiana even with its sluggish economy. "Nationwide where the economy is booming, it's dropped off," says Bacot. "I see no reason why the things that are happening nationally haven't affected decisions here." She adds, "The thing is that this money is spent in parts of town where it can do the most civic good." l ''f f 1 J wf WMiiiiiiiiiii ilitiiliniY-T 1 riiiMtr-rrn-i-riwr-- in f m nrni -i- -'1" hrm- Times photoTERRY STRONG MaHie Hebert, 5, and her grandmother, Helen Scott were among many in the area that reported above-shop for shoes at Mall St. Vincent. Stores in the mall normal Monday sales on Memorial Day. BWHemmoriall Day shoppers boost area retail sales Local merchants hope worst is over By ALISON WATSON The Times Some Shreveport-Bossier City area residents bypassed outdoor activities Memorial Day to shop, boosting retail sales at some stores about 25 percent over a typical Monday. "There aren't as many shoppers as on a regular Saturday, but stores here are having a pretty good day," said John Dooley, manager of Pierre Bossier Mall. Dooley said retail merchants hadn't known what to expect "because it's hard to predict if people would rather spend a holiday outdoors." Above-average Monday sales of summer clothing, sports equipment and outdoor furnishings were reported throughout Shreveport and Bossier City. Some merchants said they are hopeful the area is rebounding after two years of sluggish retail sales. So far this month, local sales tax receipts are showing a slight edge over collections garnered in May 1987, Shreveport officials announced last week. With the exception of February, this year's sales tax collections have been higher than during the same months of 1987. "It looks like we're ahead of last Mem orial Day. We've been pleased with today's sales," said Betty Jarrell, a salesperson at Mar-Lea's in Eastgate Shopping Center, of Monday's business. There, as at many stores, summer clothes were the big sellers. At Home Depot, people were buying "throughout the store," said salesman Tommy Barnes. He estimated sales were at least 25 percent higher than a normal Monday, partly because many people were off work and had time to shop. Also, he said, since Memorial Day is usually considered the beginning of the summer fix-up season, "lots of do-it-yourselfers find their way here." The combined effect of tax credits and industrial revenue bonds low-cost :, financing to developers through bonds ,' has had a profound effect on Shreveport's downtown. Projects whose redevelopers and investors were helped by tax credits; range from the the Strand Theatre to' renovated housing in Ledbetter Heights. All told, tax incentives played a part in the renovation of 31 projects downtown totaling $43 million, Kevil estimates. He-believes there are "easily 30 more" older buildings downtown that would make good candidates. While no one Kevil included expects those buildings to be renovated under an economy as poor as the current , one, he and others worry at what's to come. "For now, no," Kevil says. "But you , have to think that our economy is going to get better. These buildings will not be preserved without the tax incentive," he . predicts. - . . Broker-sold funds dumped by investors By JIM HENDERSON Gannett News Service An odd trend has emerged in mutual funds: Investors are dumping stock and bond funds sold by brokers and buying funds sold directly by mail or phone by fund companies. Through April, purchases of non-bro-1 ker-sold funds have outpaced redemp- tions by $1.5 billion this year. For broker-1 sold funds, the reverse: redemptions outpaced purchases by $2.2 billion, not in-, eluding reinvested dividends. Experts say the reasons for the phenomenon vary. Investors who don't use brokers generally are more sophisticated. "And history shows that when the markets are down like they've been this year is the best time to be investing," says Joe Mansueto, president of , Morningstar Inc., which tracks mutual funds. Investors also shy away from brokers when the markets are unstable. Most , broker-sold funds have some form of sales fee. "Suddenly the cost of investing -becomes a big deal to investors when the markets aren't going up," says John Markese, research director at the American Association of Individual Investors. Indeed, the same trend occurred ; when the stock market wallowed in the late 1970s, says Ann Anderson of Investment Company Institute, a fund trade group. But some analysts say brokerage cus- . tomers are finally doing what non-brokerage investors did in the weeks after the crash: adjusting their investments for a safer mix of investments. Non-bro-, ker funds saw a big, sudden outflow im- .' mediately after the October stock crash. ,. These funds make it easy to sell by mak-: ing a toll-free phone call. Brokers generally told clients to wait for the dust to settle after the crash. Now they may be tell-';. ing clients to sell, analyst say. Brokerage firms also offer more alternative investments than mutual . fund companies do. Sales of unit invest-; ment trusts unmanaged, pooled investments usually in bonds set to mature on the same date are $521 million , ahead of last year's sales. New under-writings of closed-end funds pooled in-. vestments that issue a set number of shares and are sold on exchanges were $7.6 billion in the first four months of 1987 compared to $9.8 billion for all of " 1987. And sales of broker-sold bank CDs "are booming," says Stephen Fisher at Prudential Mutual Fund Management " Co. Son beats mother to retirement punch By GARY HINES The Times Harold Patterson was to finish the night shift with the Shreveport Police Department this morning just in time to beat his mother to the retirement punch. Dorothy Brown, 63, retires from Schumpert Medical Center after work today. Patterson, 41, is finishing a 20-year career on the police force. "I've been kidding her the last year or so that I could retire before she did," Patterson said Monday. "That kind of gets her, too. She had been planning for months to retire the first of June. About 3 weeks ago I made my decision." Brown is coordinator of continuing medical education for physicians at Schumpert, where she has worked the past 14 years. She's been in the medical profession almost 30 years. "I just wanted to retire while I was ahead so I could have a few years of enjoyment," said Brown, the divorced mother of six. "I'm building me a front porch and I'll do a little traveling." Mother and son do their first traveling this week when they head for Austin, Texas, she said. "I'm going to sit back and evaluate and find me a job," said Patterson, a patrol supervisor and the father of two. "I'm just kind of looking." f-f n ill r ! v - ' T11 i-no L.L.11" ' , I ' 5 ' ..' t , A gsa Harold Patterson and his mother, Dorothy Brown ended their careers together Monday when each retired, he from the Shreveport police department ond she from continuing medical education ot Times photoTERRY STRONG Schumpert Medical Center. He made it a little ahead of her by retiring Monday morning after 20 years service while she retired Monday afternoon with nearly 30 years service- f . t J

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