After yet another delay, the Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday an ordinance that would repeal a 50-year-old law giving retailers in the city and unincorporated parish a slice of the sales tax pie. Since the early 1960s when the city first began levying a sales tax — the parish began levying a sales tax in 1972 — merchants were given a 2 percent rebate in taxes collected as an incentive to turn the taxes over to government in a timely fashion.
The ordinance was originally before the council in February, but it was tabled amid opposition from local tea party representatives and concerns from the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. It was on the agenda again two weeks ago but was tabled again due to the unexpected death of Councilman Kevin Naquin’s grandfather. (Naquin is a co-sponsor of the ordinance.)
In a December 2012 memorandum to Councilman Jay Castille, the ordinance’s other sponsor, former Director of Traffic & Transportation Tony Tramel, who retired at the end of March, estimates repealing the rebate would generate $1.4 million in additional revenue for the city of Lafayette and $104,000 for the parish.
According to LCG figures compiled by Tramel, the sales tax rebate to vendors for the year February 2011 through January 2012 amounted to more than $1.5 million for both the city and the parish, which operate on separate budgets.
As long ago as 1994 and as recently as 2011, the cities of Carencro, Scott and Youngsville, along with the Lafayette Parish School Board, have repealed rebates offered to merchants for timely collection of sales taxes.
Tramel also questions the legality of the sales tax rebates to merchants:
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. ...Recent opinions from our City-Parish attorneys indicate 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...
Speaking to The Ind a couple of weeks ago Castille says since the ordinance was originally deferred, he’s heard no complaints about its
impact on businesses. “I haven’t gotten any negative feedback from anyone to tell you the truth,” Castille says. “I haven’t any business owner call me and complain about it.”
The District 2 councilman said concerns about a repeal’s impact on local businesses are overblown. “As a business owner, you know going into business you have to collect taxes and pay taxes. It’s the right thing to do, and I just can’t understand why some of these politicians just don’t see that. ... I pulled the numbers up and I’ll tell you what, some businesses only get $300 a year. If that’s going to break that business, that business needs to look at its business plan and revamp it. Come on, man.”
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SEP 17 This post on Time could make Bobby Jindal smile and cry all at the same time. It gives him credit for "subtly shaping" GOP agenda. However, it also says his fast-talking style and "wonk status" (does that mean nerd?) make him "an unlikely fit to be a major party presidential nominee."
SEP 17 The controversy continues at Louisiana College, as some seem loathe to release their grip on the status quo. After the school's accrediting agency suspended the school's ranking and criticized its pattern of dishonesty, four board members had wanted a change in the chairman's position. When that didn't happen, they resigned in protest, the Alexandria Town Talk reports here.
SEP 17 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at Louisiana's Tea Party, and the decision to classify it as an LLC instead of a political party. He also throws in some illuminating facts about the so-called IRS "witch hunt" against Tea Party groups -- which, it turns out, was nothing of the kind.
SEP 17 This post on CNN features Bobby Jindal being supremely indifferent to poll numbers that have him (as blogger Tom Aswell has so poetically stated) coming in 12th in a 10-man race. Bobby's decision won't be based on poll numbers, he says; he's thinking and praying. Hey B - maybe God's trying to tell you something?
SEP 17 A state district judge ruled the so-called Edmonson Amendment unconstitutional in Baton Rouge Tuesday, and declared it null and void, the Picayune tells us in this post. Edmonson himself is saying (now) he always felt it wasn't right, and is so glad this happened. Uh... what?
SEP 17 Blogger Tom Aswell gives us his take on the demise of the Edmonson Amendment, and reveals the use of a "hurt feelings report" by a state police official. The report, which resulted in the firing of a football coach in another state, is pretty bad.
SEP 17 If the "when white people fight" video was the war side, blogger Mighty Favog has found the love side. Here's a video of two (let us hope they aren't sober) inebriated white people who got so carried away in their demonstration of, er, affection that they fell. In Tiger Stadium. During the game. The best part is the reaction (or lack thereof) among their fellow fans. (Hey, there's a game going on!)
SEP 17 When someone tells you that New Orleans is lousy with singles, the first thing that comes to mind might be a fist full of stripper bait. But, as this story on NOLA Defender tells us, NOLA leads the nation in single people. That's a good thing, NoDef says, because they are full of fresh ideas. (Yeah - and kale.)
SEP 16 Here's something for LSU to be proud of. It's a video of some (presumed) 'frat boys' manhandling another young man who is not wearing a polo shirt and khakis on the parade grounds prior to Saturday's LSU football game. The best part of this brief video is the look on the face of the guy who shot it, who also is (presumably) responsible for the title of the tape.
SEP 16 Finally, something useful from a daily newspaper. Here's a story in the Picayune about the Jambalaya Calculator, a free-to-download spreadsheet that helps hungry Cajuns calculate ingredients for the dish.
SEP 16 Here's a post from the Facebook page of the Al Berard Music Festival, announcing the date of the new event to honor the musician's memory and to raise money for the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana. They're seeking volunteers, if you want to help.
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