ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish Council has authorized its legal counsel to challenge a state rule that would grab a portion of certain dedicated local sales and use taxes for a new state agency.

A state rule seeks to fund the newly created Louisiana Uniform Local Sales Tax Board through a percentage of local sales and use taxes on motor vehicles. Parish Attorney Dannie Garrett estimates that would come to roughly $2 million per year statewide.

Garrett, through a resolution approved Monday, will file suit in East Baton Rouge Parish seeking a declaratory judgment on whether the rule violates the legal injunction against taking any portion of a local tax that voters dedicated to a specific purpose.

The work of the Louisiana Sales Tax Board is to issue policy advice to local sales tax administrators, adopt uniform procedures for local tax collectors, procure computer software for the collection and administration of local taxes, and develop a coordinated multiparish audit process. The eight-member appointed board is authorized to hire an executive director and staff.

“What the state did is they created an entity and funded it by taking local sales taxes that are already dedicated,” Garrett said.

The bigger problem, he said, is there’s no limit to how much the cash-strapped Legislature can try to grab from local entities. 

Garret said he has two other clients — the St. James Parish School Board and Plaquemines Parish government — that are willing to share the costs of a legal challenge, which split three ways would be between $2,000 and $3,000 apiece.

In other matters before the council:

  • Parish President Kevin Couhig said he plans to consider an ordinance proposal for a future meeting that would help the parish deal with its deteriorating roads caused by large trucks such as those used by the timber industry. He said he plans to propose a comprehensive road program next year that will include laws protecting parish roads from damage caused by the large trucks. Part of the process, he said, will be to review existing ordinances.
  • Couhig said that because of increased market demand for riverboat tourism, he’s working on a comprehensive plan to develop an entry corridor on land adjacent to the Mississippi River.
  • Chief Deputy Assessor Richard Kendrick said the annual deadline for challenging property taxes was Sept. 1 and no appeals were filed through his office this year.