A look at the incentives that brought Buc-ee’s to Ruston

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 8:46 PM CST
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RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - We’re getting a look at the deal that brought Buc-ee’s to Ruston.

The iconic gas station and convenience store announced they were coming to the city earlier this month.

Buc-ee’s received incentives from the City of Ruston, Lincoln Parish Police Jury, School Board, and Sheriff’s Office to open the 53,000-square foot travel center at the intersection of Interstate-20 and Tarbutton Road.

“To recruit a company like Buc-ee’s, it takes incentives,” Ruston’s Economic Development Director, Jade West, told KNOE. “It’s just the name of the game for economic development.”

The city will reimburse Buc-ee’s its portion of sales and property tax revenue for 20 years. West says even with the incentives, Ruston will still make money.

“The other businesses that potentially will come with Buc-ee’s, they will not get those sales tax incentives,” explained West. “The city will generate revenue off of that.”

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury and Lincoln Parish School Board will also return their portion of sales tax revenue for two decades, while the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office will return their share of Buc-ee’s property tax.

West points to a Buc-ee’s in Terrell, Texas as proof the location in Ruston will spur development.

“Before Buc-ee’s was there, their site kind of looked like ours,” said West. “Just kind of open land with some timberland on it. Then Buc-ee’s located. They were an anchor there. Now there is a strip mall. There are several hotels and lots of restaurants.”

The location, expected to be completed in 2025, will employ a minimum of 200 people.

“It’s going to increase our tax base bottom line because folks are going to get employed by Buc-ee’s, and they’re going to be making a good liveable wage where they can re-spend that money back in our community,” West explained to KNOE.

KNOE asked what West would say to small business owners who are upset they have to pay taxes while large corporations get a break.

“If we didn’t want to incentivize them, they may just go to a town where they can get those incentives,” West responded. “You have to be strategic when you offer investments and make sure that your city and community are going to see a return on that investment before you make them available.”

Ruston is also setting up an 80-acre economic development district allowing Buc-ee’s to recoup an additional 2% in sales tax over 20 years.