For a third time in three years, Ascension Parish voters delivered a resounding defeat to a new tax proposed for parish services.
This time voters shot down a proposed recreation tax, with 62 percent voting “no” and 38 percent voting “yes,” complete but unofficial returns say.
“No” votes garnered 22,467 votes to 13,778 “yes” votes, a 8,689-vote margin for the opposition to the property tax. With all 74 precincts reporting parishwide, turnout was 49.7 percent, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website says.
The 10-year, 5-mill property tax would have improved the parish’s existing parks and build a new recreation complex at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center and a new performing arts center.
The tax, which would have been the first dedicated recreation tax for Ascension Parish government, would have provided $58 million over 10 years.
Despite facing increasing infrastructure pressures from population growth, however, parish voters shot down a new half-cent sales in 2012 and a large swath of voters rejected new fees and property taxes for paid fire protection in 2013.
Both taxes went down by strong majorities.
Backers of the recreation tax have said the tax would have enhanced the quality of life in a parish with many young families.
Almost half of the dedicated tax dollars would be used to maintain parks. The other half, about $31.8 million, would pay for major capital construction across the parish, as well as related engineering and contingencies.
Critics have charged the parish is growing and has enough money to pay for the improvements incrementally.
They also have said the parish has other, more pressing infrastructure priorities that need to be addressed.
On a $200,000 house with homestead exemption, the new tax would have cost $62.50 more per year on annual tax bills, or about $5.21 per month, backers have said.
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