Proposed tax credit could cost parish schools $3.8 millionApr 26th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: News
If a bill introduced in Baton Rouge by Jefferson Parish State Rep. Kirk Talbot earlier this month is passed,
St. Bernard Parish School System’s tax revenue could be reduced by $3.8 million.
The legislation, HB328 is a constitutional amendment that “adds property tax exemptions for certain inventory held by manufacturers, distributors, retailers and natural gas used in providing natural gas storage services or operating natural gas storage facilities.”
According to David Fernandez, St. Bernard Finance Manager for St. Bernard Parish Public Schools, the inventory tax exemption for these large manufacturers would reduce the already anemic post-Katrina tax base and cut school revenues by 27 percent.
The 2012 Annual Inventory Report from the Louisiana Tax Commission the total taxes generated for the School Board by ad valorem taxes as $3.8 million– $2.9 million for the general fund for operations and
$838,875 for debt service that the school system is legally required to have to help pay off municipal bonds.
If the tax credit passes and the school system does sustain those cuts, SBSB will have to increase the debt
service millage by 3.7 mills.
“It looks pro-business but the bottom line is tax payers will suffer,” said School Board President Diana Dysart.
Superintendent Doris Voitier says that bill’s unseen repercussions will not only impact the classroom, but
any other governing body who collects a millage.
“If that bill passes the school system will not receive over $3 million in revenue,” said Voitier. “That means
cuts for teachers and programs for our children. The tax base will be reduced so anyone who collects a millage will be affected.”
District 5 School Board Representative Joseph Long questions how far the bill will go.
“It’s amazing what this governor is doing to our state,” said Long. “I don’t think it is going to fly, but we
have to make an effort to kill it as quickly as possible.”
District 11 Representative Don Campbell called for a formal resolution from the board to formally oppose
Campbell also requested a formal response from St. Bernard’s State Representative Ray Garofalo on how he
will vote on the matter. Garofalo, however, called it a “non-issue,” in a phone interview Wednesday.
“After speaking with the author, it looks like he’s not going to move on it, “said State Rep. Ray Garofalo in an
April 24 phone conversation. “He’s going to try to pull it so it’s a non-issue.”
As of April 24, HB 328 was awaiting review by the House Ways and Means Committee.