LPPJ Talks Budget, Taxes

Last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) and its committees had a lengthy series of meetings, lasting from 4:30 PM to about 8:30 PM.

Much of the discussion was on next year’s budget. The Finance Committee heard from several agencies who receive part of their funding from the jury. Total requests were about $634 thousand, up about $63 thousand from last year’s funding of about $571 thousand.

See here the budget request spreadsheet.

Notable was the request from Lincoln Parish Registrar of Voters Dianne Stone which was less than that of last year.

The jury’s Personnel/Benefits Committee discussed the pending hire of a Treasurer to replace retired Bobby Gray.

Jury Administrator Courtney Hall suggested that the requirement for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) be deleted, as it could reduce the number of applicants for the job.

As was the case at the August, 2015 meeting, there was considerable discussion and a vote on whether to award a $0.75 local sales tax abatement to businesses that are planning to locate in the area.

This time, however, the vote results were different.

When Walter Pullen (District Six) offered a motion to award both the state and local sales tax abatement to Monster Moto and a new Holiday Inn Express, Randy Roberson (District Four) moved to amend by withholding the local portion of the tax break. That would result in about $40 thousand in local sales taxes on construction materials for each of the new businesses.

Roberson’s amendments passed both times.

The arguments were much the same as last month.

Said Roberson, “It’s not asking too much for someone new to come on the scene and make a small contribution – that is almost a buy-in – to what the people of Lincoln Parish have already provided.”

When the jobs are created from the new businesses, said Pullen, “We will regain all of these tax dollars in virtually no time.”

Voting no on the Roberson amendment were Pullen, Heather Walker (District Twelve), and David Hammons (District Five).

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3 Responses to “LPPJ Talks Budget, Taxes”

  1. Cowboy Says:

    Randy Roberson is exactly right! It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to award sales tax abatements to businesses which have already made the decision to locate in Lincoln Parish. These businesses chose Lincoln Parish because they felt it was the most business-friendly location in which their businesses could thrive and profit. They did not chose Lincoln Parish because they would save money by not having to pay sales taxes on construction materials.

    It is the responsibility of local governments to create the most business-friendly climate possible with which to attract industry so local citizens will have job opportunities and the local standard of living is maximized for all in the area. We must break out of this senseless mindset which believes that businesses must be bribed to locate in a particular area with tax abatement deals that are not offered to the local businesses already in that area. These tax abatement bribes are necessary precisely because these local governments have not done enough to lessen the burdens on business which place them at a disadvantage through a combination of red tape and higher taxes. These local governments are then forced to offer these tax abatement bribes to make up for their inability to create business-friendly climates that would normally make their areas more attractive to business.

    Walter Pullen is absolutely insane for offering a tax abatement motion for businesses which had already made the decision to locate in Lincoln Parish without the lure of this political bribery! Donald Trump is correct when he points out that politicians make horrible deals because they are dealing with taxpayer money and not their own. Pullen would never offer to pay more of his own money after purchasing something in a store at sticker price, but he is more than willing to cheat local citizens out of tax money by agreeing to forgive taxes that these businesses weren’t even expecting! Why would he need to “make the deal sweeter” when it was already a done deal?

    Using Pullen’s logic, the Police Jury should forgive all business taxes on every business in Lincoln Parish to make all of their deals sweeter, but, of course, that can’t happen because then there would be no tax money to run local government! Businesses already located in Lincoln Parish aren’t extended the same luxury of tax abatement as these two new businesses, but they must compete for sales and profits at a disadvantage because Pullen decided to forego collecting tax money beneficial to Lincoln Parish citizens because it wasn’t coming directly out of his pocket! And, Heather Walker and David Hammons are just as bad for seeking to cheat their constituents out of collecting this revenue by voting with Pullen!

    Had it not been for Randy Roberson and the Jury members who voted to support his amendment to withhold the local sales tax portion, Pullen, Walker, and Hammons would have been allowed to make an even more foolish deal that cheated Lincoln Parish citizens out of revenue they had coming! It sounds like the constituents in the districts of these three need to have a serious talk with their Jury members and/or start looking for their replacements!

  2. THEAUDITOR Says:

    Help me understand this. Jury Administrator Courtney Hall suggested that the requirement that candidates for Treasurer of the Policy Jury be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) be deleted from the job description because it could reduce the number of job applicants. Is one to assume Ms. Hall thinks the number of applicants, rather than the quality of the applicants,is most important when hiring someone to account for taxpayers’ dollars? I guess the next town attorney won’t be required to pass the Bar exam either.

  3. INSIDER Says:

    Frankly, two points:
    There is no absolute requirement that a CPA hold this job, although that is a great qualification for this type of job no doubt.
    There would not be much interest among CPAs because of the relatively low pay, the lack of really challenging work, and no opportunity for advancement.
    Of the two most recent treasurers, one was a CPA, one was not, and both did a great job.
    The Jury will select a qualified individual.

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