Holistic Review of Tax Millage Rates Undertaken to Provide Clarity
After due consideration and discussion, the Board of Directors of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce has voted unanimously to support the request of the Caddo Commission to renew four millage rates and one rededication slated for the April 29th special election.
In reaching its decision, the Board weighed a number of factors including the Parish’s AAA bond rating, one of only 36 parishes and counties in the nation to have such a rating. The Board took this step in recognition of the vital
services supported by these millage renewals, including the juvenile justice system, the parish court system, park maintenance, mosquito and animal control, road maintenance, and sewer and solid waste disposal, as well as the positive impact that adequate public services such as these have on recruiting and retaining businesses and employees in Caddo Parish. The Board also appreciated the dedicated nature of these millage rates and the constructive effect that predictable funding streams have on annual and long range planning for the Parish. And finally, the Board valued the saving of $400,000 in election costs by bundling these millage renewals together in a single special election rather than spreading them out over multiple election cycles.
“We believe that these funds will be used to support the kinds of basic services that the members of our community have come to rely on,” said Don Olson, Chairman of the Greater Shreveport Chamber. “Supporting this renewal is a recognition that these public services are part of the positive quality of life for our community.”
While the Board is supportive of maintaining public service levels and recognizes that these are millage renewals rather than new taxes, the Board also believes that as businesses provide the bulk of the Caddo Parish property tax revenue, it is necessary that the tax system be as equitable, targeted, reasonable and transparent as possible.
Thus the Board believes that it is incumbent upon the Chamber to comprehend and evaluate what constitutes the tax framework in Caddo Parish and provide clarity concerning the extent of the tax burden in Caddo Parish relative to other Parishes in Louisiana. To that end, the Board also voted to create a Tax Analysis Task Force, chaired by Board Member Lyle Jeansonne, to work collaboratively across the business community and with our local municipalities to explicate current property tax millage rates and to the extent possible, compare the Caddo Parish tax structure and tax burden to other similarly sized municipalities in our state.
“We hear a lot about millage and tax rates in Northwest Louisiana, and we at the Chamber believe that to be the voice of the business community we have an obligation to understand and explain where our tax dollars come from and where they go,” said Chamber President Dr. Timothy Magner. “Being able to compare tax rates and amounts across the state will give us the information we need to provide better guidance to our members and the community going forward.”
While the current millage renewals are focused on basic services and appear to be justified, a more complete understanding of the entire tax structure and its relative burden will allow the Chamber to place future millage renewals in context and to provide more specific direction to the business community and to the municipalities with regard to both expense allocation as well as revenue generation.
For more information, contact Erin Smith with the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce at 318-677-2521. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.