I’ve never read anything authored by Mr. Sam Hyde beyond his recent letter to the editor. However, after seeing the bias and shoddy research manifest in that letter, I have to take a breath. He tried to level a shot at our state chamber of commerce and manufacturers association for its able representation of its members and sought to mischaracterize the organization’s actions for his own destructive purposes. Shame on you, sir!

What is also shameful is his allegation that the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry is working against the interests of taxpayers on behalf of multinational corporations. Leaving for another day a dissection of his misplaced hatred of such companies, the products of which he doubtless uses every day, I want to set the record straight about LABI.

Had Mr. Hyde bothered to research the subject of his screed, he would know that LABI’s membership makeup is mostly small businesses. Over 70 percent of its members have 50 or fewer employees. I know this because I’m one of them, and I’m a member of its board of directors, the vast majority of which are representatives from homegrown Louisiana businesses like my own.

Every aspect of LABI’s operations, be it programs to policies, is member-driven. Our members devote countless hours toward the betterment of Louisiana as a whole. Every member, regardless of their company size, has only a single vote in LABI’s program development and on bill positions. So, larger companies are very much outnumbered in the association’s decision-making process.

Mr. Hyde’s irresponsible accusation that LABI and its allies work against the interests of taxpayers is completely without basis. To the contrary, the organization’s mission is to promote policies that create a healthy business climate yielding economic growth to the benefit of all of Louisiana’s citizens.

Indeed, while Mr. Hyde may not agree with LABI’s positions, no group has fought harder for quality education for our children. LABI sponsored successful legislation just last session that ensures greater funding for Louisiana’s roads and infrastructure. And for Mr. Hyde’s information, Louisiana businesses — large and small alike — are already responsible for the lion’s share of tax revenues received by our state and local governments. Increasing their burden only begs for the economic decline Mr. Hyde says he fears.

I’m proud of my affiliation with LABI. I’m puzzled when people like Mr. Hyde attack this fine organization and in effect, tens of thousands of hardworking business people like me, who create jobs for Louisiana citizens. LABI deserves the support of all businesses in this state, and yes, Mr. Hyde, your support, too.

Joe Arroyo

president, Fire Extinguisher & Supply Co.,Inc.

New Orleans