St. Helena Tea Party to Fight Lawless Fed Judge

St. Helena Parish is about to form a tea party to fight precisely what our forefathers fought over 200 years ago – taxation without representation. Alton Travis, a 12-year St. Helena school board member, has begun preliminary efforts to organize a group. “I’ve made some phone calls and I’m putting together a contact list,” Travis said.

Mr. Travis spoke earlier today with Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) from his home near Kentwood.

Last week, LPNO had reported about U. S. District Judge James Brady’s plans to impose a tax upon St. Helena residents without a vote. Brady is the former chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Travis said he has been in contact with the Baton Rouge Tea Party (BRTP) for help in organizing a group in St. Helena Parish. “I really don’t know why we’re talking about this,” said Travis in reference to taxes imposed by a judge contrary to voter’s wishes. “Things like that shouldn’t even be contemplated.”

Parish voters had previously turned down several attempts to pass new school taxes. On May 1, parish voters rejected a 55 mil property tax by a 62% margin. The tax issue has gone back over twenty years, according to Travis, and has been voted upon at least a dozen times.

Some have tried to portray a negative vote on school taxes as a racist vote, but as the parish is 52% black, it is clear that many blacks voted no on the tax. LPNO readers will recall how last fall’s defeat of a Baton Rouge tax was painted as “racist” by The (Baton Rouge) Advocate.

St. Helena is a rural parish with no significant tax base. Years ago, the area had several dairy farms, but that property now grows trees. Travis said if a tax is imposed, several property owners have told him they will file bankruptcy because they wouldn’t be able to afford the taxes. The school system consists of one elementary school, one middle school that has been taken over by the Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD), and one high school.

The taxes would fund pay raises for the district’s teachers and also fund new construction. Asked what condition are the district’s buildings, Travis said they’re in as good a condition as thirty-five years ago when he attended.

The school board is also under investigation for holding meetings without notifying all the board members.

14 Responses to “St. Helena Tea Party to Fight Lawless Fed Judge”

  1. JohnMartin Says:

    Dear Walter-
    I have real doubt that you are getting the complete story from your TEA Party buddy down South. And I feel little compassion from landowners who have managed to get themselves a terrifically high discount on property taxes. First of all, farmland is scheduled at something between $18 to $30 an acre…or somewhere thereabouts depending on soil type and timberland goes on the rolls at say $13 to $23 an acre based on the Site Index, with no tax on the actual standing timber on the acreage. The only tax on the timber comes in the form of severance taxes at the time of harvest that being something less than five percent as I recall last time I sold timber. And those low rates of taxation come no matter what the market value of of the land might actually be compared to actual sales. Looks like the big boys in timber had a bit better stroke than did the cow milkers down in Baton Rouge.

    Of course, then there is the matter of carving out a lot for the house if the owner lives on the property which gives them another $75,000 exemption.

    And as for saying the folks down in St. Helena are fighting the same battle as our ancestors is really a crock. Colonists had no representation in Parliment, though most colonies did have what would be called lobbyists (sic?) today.

    The folks in St. Helena got to vote for “electors” who in turn cast their votes for President. The President nominated the Federal District Judge and the U.S. Senators from Louisiana, as well as those elected from the other 49 states, cast their votes on whether the Judge would be confirmed.

    I would suspect that your buddy in St. Helena is accurate in saying the facilities are in the same condition as when he attend school(s) back 35 years ago. And given that was about the time Louisiana schools were desegregated by court order, it comes as no surprise the schools are in such bad condition now that the Judge ordered them brought up to current occupancy standards….something actually mandated by the Louisiana Consititution of 1974.

    The Judge is no more at fault than if St. Helena residents voted 99:1 in favor of segregated schools and he told them to forget that vote. School Districts are required to provide safe schools, liike it or not.

    The fault lays with the current group of Know Nothings flying the Tea Party banner who know only they don’t want to pay taxes and still expect the benefits that taxes bring to everyone.

    I would have thought you would know better even though you’ve been a life long ‘publican.

  2. Walter Abbott Says:

    What it’s about – and all it is about – is a bureaucrat levying a tax without consent. It matters not if the bureaucrat wears black robes.

    They got away with it in Kansas City in the mid ’90’s and it turned into a spectacular and expensive failure.

    They ain’t gonna do it again.

  3. JohnMartin Says:

    Walter-
    You are so full of it! But that’s what happens when you let ‘publicans get on the internet unsupervised and ill informed.

    • Walter Abbott Says:

      Darn that pesky First Amendment! There should be some sort of “license” for free speech, doncha think?

  4. JohnMartin Says:

    Nope, there certainly should NOT be any sort of license. But folks running around with their jaws flapping and brain not being in gear does create problems with reality.

    • Walter Abbott Says:

      “I was taught when I was a young reporter that it’s news when we say it is. I think that’s still true — it’s news when ‘we’ say it is. It’s just who ‘we’ is has changed”

      David Carr (b. 1956), US Journalist – NY Times Reporter. CNN “Reliable Sources”, Sunday, August 10, 2008.

  5. Wascator Says:

    Hang in there, Walter, JM never met a government program he did not like. People who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. The problem is we who do learn these lessons get caught up in the resulting tyranny and carnage.
    Huey Long then EWE used government and whatever power they could accumulate to “hep folks”: classic activism. The Founders realized that the powers and precendents created and expanded in these efforts to “do good” would set the stage for and ultimately result in tyranny. Now the “common folk” Mr. Long and EWE sought to “hep”, are increasingly needing defense from the very government they helped create.

  6. St Helena Parish Schools/Kansas City Schools « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] City Schools By Walter Abbott In researching the St. Helena Parish schools and the recent threat by U. S. District Judge “Diamond” Jim Brady to unilaterally impose taxes on parish […]

  7. Ross Little Says:

    Federal Judges have no authority to impose St. Helena Parish School Board Taxes on the landowners of St. Helena Parish. The St. Helena School Board, in accordance with their procedures, do have that authority. Imposing taxes is a legislative power, not a judicial power.
    In Louisiana, total spending per public school student is $13,000. It is outrageous that a Federal Judge would attempt to impose taxes.

  8. Cajun Maverick Says:

    I think the problem goes back to too much dependence on government. Even if St Helena schools got a tax increase, there’s no guarantee the performance will get any better. Look at what’s happened at a nation… education funding has dramatically increased with no improvement in test scores.

    Another failure of government.

  9. PhilNdeBlanc Says:

    Walter, Federal Judges are not empowered to levy taxes. Only Congress, State Legislatures, and other legislative organizations. Check your Constitution. And if the voter has decided no to the issue, then you respect that decision, and quit acting like small whiny children who think if they keep asking over and over, they will finally get their way.
    And if you read your Constitution, there is nothing in there that mandates the Federal Gov’t to provide schools, or regulate them. It just turned into that.

  10. Tri-Parish Tea Party to Meet, Organize « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] had reported last week that citizens were about to get […]

  11. jmaranatha.com Says:

    With the current number of foreclosures, a lot of people ask, “Where are properties for back taxes in my area?

  12. buy tea online Says:

    hmm strange opinions here

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