[Editor's Note: The council on Tuesday night approved the introductory ordinance below, without discussion, as part of a batch of intro ordinances. Discussion of and a vote on the ordinance for final adoption will take place Feb. 5.]
Business within the city of Lafayette and unincorporated parts of the parish stand to lose a 2 percent rebate they’re given for remitting sales taxes to the school board in a timely manner. The City-Parish Council will vote Tuesday night on an introductory ordinance that eliminates the rebate, which for 2011 cost city-parish coffers more than $1.5 million. The rebates are offered on three long-standing sales taxes — two levied in the city (approved by voters in 1961 and 1985) and one collected in the unincorporated parish (approved in 1972).
In a memorandum to the council, Director of Traffic and Transportation Tony Tramel notes:
It appears the 2% rebate provision to vendors was included in the original ordinances to appease the retail community, regarding their effort to collect, administer and remit the approved sales tax. Specifically, 2% of the total sales tax collected by each vendor is rebated to the business, if the sales tax is provided in a timely manner to the Lafayette Parish School System Sales Tax Division.
Recent opinions from our City-Parish attorneys indicated government cannot donate anything of value to others, which raises the question as to why/how LCG can rebate/donate sales tax dollars to local businesses, notwithstanding the approved original ordinances which permits [sic] this action.
Tramel points out that four governmental bodies in the parish — the school board and cities of Carencro, Scott and Youngsville — eliminated similar sales tax rebates as recently as 2011.
This table from Ordinance 019 shows that more than $1.5 million in sales taxes were lost to the rebates in 2011.
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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
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