West Feliciana Parish residents who voted early or went to the polls Saturday agreed to renew a half-cent sales tax that helps support the parish’s schools.
The school tax proposal shared the ballot with four proposed amendments to the Louisiana constitution.
Almost 21% of the parish’s registered voters cast ballots on the sales tax renewal, which passed by a vote of 1,021 in favor and 615 against, according to unofficial returns provided by the Secretary of State’s Office.
“Thank you, West Fel,” School Superintendent Hollis Milton said on Sunday.
“I am very grateful for the parental and community support of the renewal, which will provide us with a stable revenue source so that we can continue to deliver high-quality services to our students, families and community. Our future is bright because of our strong community support,” Milton said.
West Feliciana Parish voters first approved the half-cent sales tax in a special 2012 election in which they also renewed a 3.75-mill property tax dedicated to employee salaries.
The half-cent sales tax levy raised the School Board’s share of taxes on the local sale of goods and services to 3 percent.
In 2012, the new sales tax was meant to cover operations and maintenance costs, as well “funding new state and federal mandates required to comply with law.”
At the time, the school system was involved in transitioning to the Common Core State Standards that were designed to implement new curricula standards.
At the same time, the School Board was required to come up with an extra $700,000 for state-mandated retirement fund increases.
Saturday’s vote extends the tax for another 10 years, to July 1, 2032, and it is expected to bring in about $1.3 million in revenues.
West Feliciana voters followed the lead of a majority of the state’s voters who cast ballots on the constitutional amendments Saturday, approving the second of the four amendments and rejecting the other three.
In East Feliciana Parish, voters rejected all four proposed amendments.
The amendment that passed, No. 2, is supposed to lower the maximum rate of the state income tax, eliminate the state income deduction for federal taxes paid and usher in other changes in individual and corporate income and franchise taxes.
The amendments that failed in the statewide vote would have:
- Streamlined sales tax collections in the state by creating a new state commission to develop a plan for a single sales tax collection system for all taxing bodies.
- Allowed new levee districts created since 2006 to levy a 5-mill property tax without voter approval.
- Allowed the transfer of more dedicated funds (10% instead of 5%) to fix a state budget deficit.