[Update: The City-Parish Council on Tuesday voted 5-4 against the resolution calling for a half-cent sales tax to replace the 5-mills property tax that expires this year. It’s unlikely the council will revisit the issue in time to get a tax proposition on the April ballot, although voters in the city of Lafayette may be asked in November to approve the sales tax and let the property tax expire.]
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will decide Tuesday night whether to put before voters on April 21 a city-wide half-cent sales-tax proposition that would raise the city of Lafayette sales tax to 8.5 percent. The additional half cent collected on every dollar spent on retail purchases would be directed to the police and fire departments.
Currently in Lafayette, 5 mills of the overall property tax burden is devoted to public safety and generates about $6 million annually, but that 5-mill public-safety tax will expire after property taxes are collected this year. The half-cent sales tax would, according to projections, generate a little more than $16 million annually, representing a $10 million increase in public safety funding. Moreover, the new revenue would be generated by everyone who makes retail purchases in the city of Lafayette as opposed to only property owners in the city who are currently generating the funding. Food and prescription drugs, which are currently exempt from the state sales tax, would also be exempt from the proposed city sales tax.
The administration and public safety officials have justified the tax as a needed means of meeting increased operating expenses and infrastructure needs. According to the resolution before the council Tuesday, if the Lafayette Fire Department is unable to build two new fire stations — LCG doesn’t currently have the funds to build new stations — it runs the risk of having its fire rating lowered, which would likely lead to “a significant increase in insurance costs for residents and businesses” in the city.
Today’s Advocate has a good break-down of the issue. Read that here.
Click here to read the resolution laying out the justification for the tax.
The special meeting to consider the tax resolution is set to begin following a meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which follows the regularly scheduled CPC meeting.