Started by Lee Longstreet, March 10, 2022, 10:45:19 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Lee Longstreet

... letters to the editor - published, Slidell Independent Feb. 2020

Why won't voters approve additional taxes?

I think business minded voters realize that both St. Tammany and the State of Louisiana have the same problem.  The parish and the state both enjoyed the slush of unexpected sales tax revenue following Hurricane Katrina restoration and simply found ways to spend it.  Results were new office space, higher salaries, additional employees and expanded benefits packages.  Then when sales tax hit 10% it was "game over".  Blame that on Governor Edwards.  Voters had enough and now won't vote for any taxes. 

In recent years the influx of new residents less impacted by homestead exemption have contributed to a permanent increase in the tax base.  They have more expendable income and pay more in property taxes.  Again, business minded voters know the parish is receiving more in taxes these days because of population growth. 

St. Tammany is one of the highest taxed parishes in one of the highest taxed states in the nation and yet the money is consumed within it's overhead with too little left over for doing work for the tax payers.  Until recently the St. Tammany parish public works department was rarely seen doing anything in the unincorporated eastern part of the parish.  That contributed to voter apathy. 

Streets had embarrassing potholes and striping had faded away.  They did not bother to change the lights on the interstate and even just let the light fixtures fall off the poles.  It is still a rare occasion to see a public works vehicle, much less doing anything.  And neighborhoods are intimated into maintaining the medians on public streets.  You just don't see that level of neglect elsewhere.  In Jefferson, Kenner and the Mississippi gulf coast you will always see public works vehicles maintaining and repairing whatever is needed to keep public property in good shape.

Several things need to be done to fix the revenue problem.

The first step is comparing yourself to other areas and realizing there is a problem.

A lot of the problem is with dedicated taxes.  "We" foolishly seem to vote that way.  We need an unbiased, non-political, office of independent inspector general.  The inspectors general's primary mission would be to review the allocation and funding appropriateness of the various parish agencies.  The end goal would be a ballot proposal to reallocate dedicated taxes based upon a needs and appropriateness basis. 

In today's political environment it's flabbergasting that so many people do not understand how money is created.  Business creates the jobs and the money.  More business equals more money.  One ignored opportunity would be to develop the Slidell lakefront. 

Maybe it's time to put back on the ballot the issue of a Lakefront Casino as a tax revenue generator.  All too many St. Tammany residents go to Mississippi to spend their excess income.  Let's think about why they go to Mississippi and fix that.  Our residents should be given the opportunity of spending their money at home where it benefits us instead of taking it out of state.  The permit for a casino could be linked to the requirement that they build a beachfront barrier island for public recreation which would also help with storm surge. 

Submitted by:
Lee Longstreet

2022 notes:
Casino proposal failed
Former State Senator Crowe still pushing for Slidell Lakefront development - see
Maintenance issues have improved due to public awareness and push from the Moonraker Island Civic Organization

Thomas Thompson

VOTE NO on March 26, 2022

On March 26th you will be asked to continue a 35 mil Fire District One tax for ten years.  This tax is in addition to the yearly $39 Fire District parcel tax that we also pay.  The fire tax is our second highest property tax.  The fire tax equates to approximately $700 per year for a home assessed at $260K.

Before you vote on March 26, please look at your property tax assessment, and ask yourself why are you paying the fire district three times more than you paying the sheriff's department?  Both agencies provide community protection at high personal risk to the dedicated men and women who serve and protect.  The difference is in the agencies' structure and management.

We have one sheriff for all of St. Tammany Parish, but 13 fire districts, each with its own Chief and administrative staff and overhead.  We need a fire department that is fiscally responsible and recognizes the need to balance good protection with affordability.

It's time to slowdown the fire district's extravagant spending and demand a tax reduction before renewing the fire tax.  Vote "NO" on March 26!


The fire district's rating is a bogus argument to justify their high budget cost.

The fire district has stated many times, their fire rating is saving us money on our homeowner's insurance.  So I called my homeowner's insurance company and asked them how much value they place on fire department ratings and how much money does it save me?

My insurance company said a fire rating is just one of dozens of parameters used in determining cost, and the fire department ratings have little impact on the cost of home insurance.  Fire damage is low risk (unless you live in the California Mountains).  Wind, hail and flood damage claims are a much higher risk in Louisiana, and insurance companies are more concerned about, the type of construction and age of structure when pricing their insurance risk verses cost.

Even if the fire department rating was lowered, my homeowner's insurance increase would not be a tenth of the $700/year* I'm paying the fire department.

Do the math.  Call your insurance company and ask them how much the fire department's rating is saving you; then look at your tax bill and see how much it is costing you.

Vote "NO" and force the fire district to come back with a reasonable, affordable and justifiable tax.

*Tax + the parcel fee