In the shadow of a recent $1 billion hike in state taxes, would voters be willing to increase or renew taxes at the local level?
That was a big question last weekend, as residents across south Louisiana went to the polls to decide the fate of numerous area tax issues. The results were mixed.
A high-profile push for a new public safety millage went down in defeat in New Orleans, where Crescent City crime has become a matter of interest not only to the city’s residents, but the whole region. Extra state troopers have been assigned to the city for months because the Police Department is low on manpower. New Orleans voters approved an infrastructure bond issue that would not raise taxes.
Meanwhile, voters in the Florida Parishes approved a property tax for a juvenile detention center. St. Tammany Parish voters nixed taxes for the parish jail and court complex. Livingston Parish voters rejected school taxes, but a bond issue for schools in Ascension got the thumbs-up, as did taxes for public health units in Tangipahoa and West Baton Rouge parishes.
In Louisiana, where voters are typically hostile to taxes, getting a green light from voters for revenue measures is seldom a cake walk. Last weekend’s results generally underscored that reality.