John Young gives "State of the Parish Address." - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

John Young gives "State of the Parish Address."

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Jefferson Parish President John Young delivers "State of the Parish" address in Kenner. Jefferson Parish President John Young delivers "State of the Parish" address in Kenner.

Kenner, La.—During his State of the Parish address, Jefferson Parish President John Young said sales tax revenues are down and speculation about the possible fiscal cliff at the federal level is not helping matters.

"In terms of sales taxes, that is our one challenge right now ladies and gentlemen, sales taxes have been flat or slightly negative," said Young.

He delivered the speech before scores of business leaders and politicians at the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

Young said the uncertainty over the fiscal cliff is a big factor.

"First we got past the election, now we got to get past the fiscal cliff and get our economy at a national level back up, and running and that will give more confidence to consumers. A lot of people are just because of the bad news they hear every night are afraid to spend the money," he said.

"We're not planning on large sales tax growth. We're hoping that in the next year consumer confidence is renewed," stated Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng.

Young said internet sales are not helping government revenues and local businesses.

"It's not just about collecting income for the operation of state and local government, it's about making it an equal playing field for our local retailers who are at a competitive disadvantage," he said.

He said parish government has already tightened its fiscal belt and continues to look to technology for further efficiencies.

"We already have a hiring freeze," said Young.

But he said a lot is going right in the parish.

"We have a lower unemployment rate than the state itself," he said.

According to the parish, unemployment is at 6.9 percent. Jefferson Parish remains the second most populated parish in the state.

Young also talked about his vision for the ongoing transformation of Fat City in Metairie. He said he wants it to be a place where young professionals and entrepreneurs want to reside.

"Fat City is our version of the Warehouse District [in New Orleans] where we can attract that young entrepreneurial class," he said.

The council person for that district agrees.

"I think it's a natural fit for a young entrepreneurial class of people, and that's what our hope is for Fat City we want it to be an attraction and it was always a 10-year plan and I think in the last three years we've really moved mountains in the area," said Lee-Sheng.

"I think its location gives us an advantage to making it a happening, hip place. We brought down a gentleman who helped developed Times Square two weeks ago," continued Young.

Young also said that the widening of the Huey P. Long Bridge is spurring business growth in the area. Council Chair Elton Lagasse also updated the business leaders on the parish's progress.

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