An ordinance that would have “rolled forward” some property taxes, while cutting the Lincoln Parish Library’s millage rate failed at last night’s Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) meeting on a 7-5 vote. A 2/3 majority was required to enact passage.
Voting yes were:
Theresa Wyatt (District One)
Hazel Hunter (District Two)
Walter Pullen (District Six)
Jody Backus (District Seven)
Joe Henderson (District Nine)
Sharyon Mayfield (District Eleven)
Annette Straughter (District Twelve)
The no votes were:
Just prior to the split vote, the jury unanimously voted to “roll back” the millages, as is required by law. The roll forward is allowed only every four years, coincident with a statewide property tax reassessment that is also done every four years.
See here the two ordinances.
A more detailed explanation of the “roll back/roll forward” procedure can be found here.
The defeated motion would have rolled forward the two general alimony taxes and two road taxes, but would have cut the library tax enough to offset the others, and then some.
In answer to a question, Parish Treasurer Laura Hartt said the expected total 2016 tax revenue with the roll forward would have been $6.67 million, compared to a 2015 revenue actually collected of $6.77 million. The 2016 estimate took into account the 2016 property reassessments.
The roll back ordinance, as adopted, will collect $6.678 million in revenue, according to figures furnished by Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor Sheila Bordelon.
Just prior to the vote on the roll forward, Parish Administrator Courtney Hall read aloud the ordinance rates, and Joe Henderson moved for approval. “That was my motion,” he said.
During discussion, Roberson asked if the rates could be voted upon individually, to which Henderson said his motion was for all the rates to be voted upon at once.
Roberson moved to amend and allow the rates to be considered individually, and it was seconded. It never came to a vote, with the chairman (Backus) calling for a vote on the original motion.
Surprised by the ordinance’s failure, Backus moved to vote again on the same motion, a procedure not contemplated in any parliamentary procedure we’ve ever seen. It too failed, with the same vote.
To his credit, Henderson questioned what was going on. “I got a problem. I thought when something passed, it’s over with and go on.”
The jury then went back and made a roll call vote on the first ordinance (roll back), and it was unanimous also.
There was still some discussion about still trying to vote individually, until it was pointed out that such an item wasn’t on the agenda, and that the two ordinances as introduced had been duly moved and properly voted upon.
Henderson agreed: “You can’t undo it. The rule is the rule, we voted on each one. And that’s the end of that.”
Later in the meeting, the jury adopted a resolution placing on the Saturday, 12/16 ballot a vote re-imposing the two road taxes which will be expiring soon. The rates as proposed will be 4.41 mils each.
Some Commentary on the Definition of Tax
There was an interesting exchange between Roberson and Henderson about taxes, their collection, and word definitions.
During the debate, Roberson said, “I”m not going to vote to roll the millages forward and confiscate 7 1/2% more money from people, when they don’t realize what is happening.”
Henderson objected to the term “confiscate.”
Said Henderson, “You can’t use the word confiscate. Then, the people get a perception that is what we’ve been doing. We vote on this at a public body, everybody knows. That’s not a good word.”
Of course, Roberson is precisely accurate. There is no voluntary component to payment of taxes to government.
You pay, or you are punished. Your property is seized. Your wages are garnisheed. Your bank account is frozen and the money therein is levied. Resist, and you are taken to jail at the point of a gun.
We understand that Henderson was trying to put forward the idea of a group of benevolent, smiling public servants trying to do the Greater Good with money voluntarily surrendered to government by taxpayers.
It ain’t so.