Archive for December, 2014

Dirty Little Secret – Government Retireds Don’t Pay “Fair Share” Either

12/31/2014

Several weeks ago, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate ran a huge spread about “tax giveaways” – tax breaks for industrial development, inventory tax credits, enterprise zones, etc. Basically, the series claims it’s “unfair” that selected people and industries get to keep some of their own money that would otherwise be seized by government because of some redeeming condition that would add to the “greater good.”

For example, a new plant could be exempt from paying sales taxes if employs so many people, and it stays in business for a certain length of time. The additional economic activity and resultant tax revenue would offset the exemption, so the theory goes.

See here the series: Giving Away Louisiana

The flaw in the theory is that it assumes ALL income – which is the economic manifestation of labor or creativity – belongs to government, and that government has first claim and should get to decide when/if you get to keep your own money.

However, we didn’t see any mention of one of the most prolific tax breaks in Louisiana: Government Retireds – federal, state and local – pay no state income tax on their retirement income.

In contrast, people who are retired from private industry, and receive pensions from those jobs, are exempt from only the first $6 thousand of that income.

Is there a list of retirement system benefits that may be excluded from Louisiana income tax?

Annual Retirement Income Exclusion (R.S. 47:44.1(A))—Persons 65 years or older may exclude up to $6,000 of annual retirement income from their taxable income. Taxpayers that are married filing jointly and are both age 65 or older can each exclude up to $6,000 of annual retirement income. If only one spouse has retirement income, the exclusion is limited to $6,000.

Federal Retirement Benefits Exclusion (R.S. 47:44.2)—Federal retirement benefits received by federal retirees, both military and nonmilitary, may be excluded from Louisiana taxable income.

State Employees, Teachers, and Other Retirement Benefits Exclusion—Individuals receiving benefits from certain retirement systems listed below are allowed to exclude those benefits from their Louisiana tax-table income. In addition, R.S. 33:7203 and R.S. 40:427.2(E) provide that Municipal and State Police Employees Retirement System deferred retirement option plan funds are exempt from state income tax.

R.S. 11:405 State Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:570 Funded Judicial Retirement Plan
R.S. 11:1378 Non-contributory Judicial Retirement Plan beginning after December 30, 1980
R.S. 11:704 Teachers’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:704 Teachers’ Retirement System of Orleans Parish
R.S. 11:1003 Louisiana School Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:1331 Louisiana State Police Pension and Retirement Fund
R.S. 11:1391 Pension for Confederate Veterans and Widows of Confederate Veterans
R.S. 11:1403 Assessors’ Retirement Fund
R.S. 11:1526 Clerks’ of Court Retirement and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:1583 District Attorneys’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:1735 Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Louisiana
R.S. 11:1735 City of Baton Rouge Retirement System
R.S. 11:1735 Employees’ Retirement System of East Baton Rouge Parish
R.S. 11:1735 Employees’ Retirement System of City of Shreveport
R.S. 11:1905 Parochial Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:1905 Employees’ Retirement System of Jefferson Parish
R.S. 11:3014 City of Alexandria Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:3051 City of Bogalusa Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:2033 Registrar of Voters Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:2182 Sheriffs’ Pension and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:2228 Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:2228 Policemen’s Pension and Relief Fund of the City of Shreveport
R.S. 11:2263 Firefighters’ Retirement System
R.S. 11:3140 Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Fund for the Consolidated Fire Districts Bastrop
R.S. 11:3161 Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Fund for Baton Rouge
R.S. 11:3171 Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Fund for Bogalusa
R.S. 11:3205 Bossier City Firemen’s Pension and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:3294 Lafayette (City of) Firemen’s Pension and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:3345 Monroe Firemen’s Pension and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:3389 Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Fund of New Orleans
R.S. 11:3513 City of Monroe Police Pension and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:3566 Policemen’s Pension and Relief Fund for Alexandria
R.S. 11:3568 Bossier City Policemen’s Pension and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:3608 Lafayette (City of) Policemen’s Pension and Relief Fund
R.S. 11:3658 Policemen’s Pension and Relief Fund for the Department of the City of New Orleans
R.S. 11:3691 Harbor Police Retirement System (Port of New Orleans)
R.S. 11:3770 Bus Drivers’ Pension and Relief Fund of the City of Monroe
R.S. 11:3800 Electrical Workers’ Pension and Relief Fund of the City of Monroe
R.S. 11:3823 Employees’ Retirement System of the Sewage and Water Board of the City of New Orleans
R.S. 11:3823 New Orleans (City of) Employees’ Retirement System
R.S. 17:1613 Louisiana State University Retirement System
R.S. 47:44.2 Railroad Retirement System Benefits
R.S. 47:44.2 Social Security Retirement Benefits
R.S. 47:52 Disability Pay to World War II Veterans
U.S.C.A. 45:231m Railroad Retirement Supplemental

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Deadhead Class Still Whining About Taxpayer Furnished Healthcare

12/30/2014

For several months now, the taxpayers have been subjected via the state’s newspapers to the unhappiness of the Deadhead Class – government retireds, various state employees, and others who have access to the taxpayer tit – over a modest increase in deductible and co-pays in the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) health insurance plan that covers many of active and retired deadheads.

Here’s the latest via The (Baton Rouge) Advocate:


During public hearing, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blamed for increasing insurance costs; some call it a ‘fiasco’

In the article, it notes that typically 75% of the premiums is paid by “the government.”

Of course, government has no money that isn’t first seized first from citizens at the point of a gun.

The Deadhead Class should be damned grateful they aren’t coping with the catastrophe inflicted upon the private sector, namely Obamacare.

What the deadheads should do is shut up and count their blessings.

AG Declines to Opine on I-20 Donation to Delta Community

12/24/2014

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office has declined to render an opinion on the legitimacy of a $600 thousand donation from the Interstate 20 Economic Development District to Louisiana Delta Community College for “economic development,” it was revealed at Monday night’s meeting of the district’s Board of Directors.

Assistant Attorney General Emalie Boyce wrote:

Consistent with our telephone conversation on October 20, 2014, and opinion policy, a copy of which is enclosed, except for matters involving dual officeholding, our office only issues opinions to the Governor, and other elected and appointed state officers; state departments, state boards, state commissions or state officers; district attorneys; the governing authority of a local political subdivision, its officers or attorneys; and officers of a local governmental subdivision.

Boyce claimed that economic development development corporations are not agencies of the state.

See here the document.

The issue has been before the board since it was apparently discussed in an executive session at the 5/8/14 meeting. At the 9/11/14 meeting, it was decided to ask for the AG opinion.

Board Chair Otis Chisley said a decision on the matter would be made “sometime in the future.”

Earlier, the board heard a report from S. E. Huey’s Charles Taylor on their study of drainage issues in the district.

Taylor said that installation of “detention ponds” on the north side of I-20, or additional culverts under the interstate would likely be required. As the property becomes developed, additional rainfall runoff can be expected, Taylor said.

The meeting went into executive session for about 45 minutes to discuss right-of-way purchase negotiations on the north and south service roads.

Finally, City of Monroe’s Director of Administration David Barnes presented the board with a projection of expected funds available, compared to what the district already has committed for ongoing and future projects.

According to Barne’s figures, through 2024, the district should have about $6 million in funding available for future projects.

See here the document.

Board member Johnny Bryant thanked Barnes for providing the estimates, and said this would give the board a valuable tool for future planning.

Said Bryant, “This is a very good report. This is the amount of money we have now, this is what we think we are going to get, these are the expenses we have on the money we have now, and these are the projects we have right now, and these are estimated costs on these projects.” He added, “this is something we can track.”

Monroe City Council Tonight

12/23/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet tonight (Tuesday, 12/23), 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

See here the agenda and information packet.

I-20 Board Meeting Monday

12/21/2014

The Interstate 20 Economic Development District’s Board of Directors will meet Monday, December 22, 5:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda.

Sales Tax Santa Visits Lincoln Fire District

12/17/2014

Sales tax proceeds from oil and gas construction projects in Lincoln Parish gave a boost to the 2014 and 2015 budgets for the Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District No. 1, it was revealed at last night’s meeting of the district’s Board of Commissioners.

In the original budget, 2014 predicted revenues (from a 1/4 cent sales tax collected in rural Lincoln Parish and Dubach) were estimated at $425 thousand. However, after a significant jump in October collections, Finance Committee Chair Bart Dugdale upped the total year estimate to $619 thousand. After a bit of discussion the board revised the estimated revenues to $720 thousand, predicting that the November and December collections would also be higher than originally budgeted.

Most of the extra revenues were allocated to wages, retirement, and workman’s compensation, as those budgets had been in the red earlier this year.

Sales tax revenues for 2015 were estimated at $558 thousand.

See here the documents:

2014 Amended Budget
2015 Proposed Budget

Commissioner Richard Durrett cautioned the board against expecting the windfall revenues to continue, as the taxes are the result of construction projects that will one day end.

Said Durrett, “That’s not going to be forever, that’s just a short term – through the first quarter of next year.”

Durrett is the former Administrator of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), and has had considerable experience in dealing with public budgets.

Ouachita Garbage Ordinances Introduced @ OPPJ

12/16/2014

Two new ordinances pertaining to solid waste and garbage were introduced at last night’s meeting of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ).

Ordinance 9060 will require:

Persons owning or operating places of business within Garbage District No. 1 of the Parish of Ouachita shall keep the business premises, including sidewalks, service alleys, parking areas, and areas adjacent to receptacles free from garbage, litter, and trash, and shall further prevent garbage, litter and trash originating in their places of business, or upon the premises thereof, from being carried by the wind, rain, or other elements onto any road or other public place or private property of another.

A $500 penalty is included in the proposed law.

Ordinance 9061 will require:

The owner of every occupied residential rental unit in Garbage District No. 1 of Ouachita Parish shall maintain a contractual arrangement that provides for the collection, conveyance, and disposal of solid waste from such residential rental unit by a franchise agent on a regular basis of not less than two (2) times per month. The
obligation of the owner may be satisfied by a contractual arrangement maintained by the occupant of such residential rental unit.

The fine for violations of this law is $100.

Ouachita Parish Garbage District No. 1 is comprised of all unincorporated areas of Police Jury Districts D and F, or all of juror Ollibeth Reddix’s district, and all of Pat Moore’s district, that is outside the city limits of Monroe and Richwood.

The two ordinances will be up for final adoption at the 1/5/15 jury meeting.

In other business, the jury approved a 2 1/2% cost of living raise for jury employees.

Lincoln Fire District Meeting Tonight

12/16/2014

The Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1 Board of Commissioners will meet tonight (Tuesday, 12/16), 6:00 PM, Vienna Station, 4786 Hwy 167.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln Detention Center Budget Adopted

12/15/2014

A $3 1/2 million 2015 budget for the Lincoln Parish Detention Center was adopted at Friday’s meeting of the Detention Center Commission, which is considerably more than it cost to operate the center when it was operated by LaSalle Corrections. Their last budget was about $2.2 million for the calendar year 2012. The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) took over operation of the jail at mid-year of 2013.

See here the document.

Also adopted was the amended 2014 budget.

2014 Amended Budget
2015 Proposed Budget

Warden Jim Tuten reported on the ongoing projects at the jail.

Said, Tuten, “From what I understand, the fence, camera, light project will be finished by the end of this year.”

Tuten also noted that increased sales tax receipts should add to the jail’s revenues.

See also the minutes from the 9/21/14 meeting.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday

12/14/2014

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday, December 15, 5:30 PM, Ouachita Parish Court House, second floor.

Here is the agenda.