A brewing legislative push to reduce or eliminate parish inventory taxes could trigger automatic property tax increases — without additional voter approval — by local governments that carry long-term debt, some parish assessors and state officials say.Remember Jindal's idea ostensibly was to cut out the tax credit by which the state reimburses businesses who pay local inventory taxes. Predictably, business owners large and small across the state howled that Jindal had raised taxes on them thus violating his sacred pledge to Governor Grover Norquist never to do that. It was "a tax increase we simply cannot afford"
Whitney Joseph Jr., assessor of St. John the Baptist Parish, estimates that St. John’s School Board and parish government would have to raise the tax rate by a combined 16.6 mills to keep meeting their debt payments for what are known as general obligation bonds. That would bring the total millage rate to about 134 mills and raise a typical homeowner’s tax bill by about 14 percent.
“You’ve got to be able to pay your debts,” Joseph said. “So whatever my bond millage needs to be to pay that debt, that’s what you have to raise it to.”
LABI president Stephen Waguespack wasted no time calling the inventory tax credit change a tax hike. He said repealing the credit and leaving the inventory tax in place would "throw sand in the gears of our growing economy ... and lower the number of jobs in Louisiana." He added, "Repealing the inventory tax credit is bad policy and a tax increase we simply cannot afford."So, nevermind that. Now we're on to repealing the inventory tax altogether. Which, in turn, leaves local governments to find other ways to make up the revenue.
Officials in parishes that rely most heavily on inventory taxes, such as St. John, St. James and others, are raising concerns that in addition to making draconian cuts to services, they would ultimately have to pass on tax increases to homeowners and small businesses to recoup some of the revenue lost for the benefit of the biggest industries and the state budget.Guess someone will have to afford it.
“We are going to shift the tax burden,” St. Charles Parish Assessor Tab Troxler said.