Thursday, June 20, 2024

Settle: Vote ‘Yes’ on Shreveport tax measures

by BIZ. Staff

Ok, I get it. It’s not a four-letter word, but to many its worse. I am referring to “taxes.”

The disdain for taxes is not new. And in fact, disparaging references to taxes and tax collectors go back to Biblical times.

Jesus Christ was asked if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar. His response was to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s.

The City of Shreveport is not part of the Roman Empire and Mayor Ollie Tyler is not Caesar. Reviewing the vicious attacks on the mayor by several bloggers, one may think that she is a combination of Caesar, Pilate, Judas and the devil himself.

Seemingly these malcontents are determined to severely criticize Tyler no matter what side of the street she walks on, much less which wig she wears.

In all fairness, Tyler is doing her job as Shreveport’s top elected official. Yes, doing her job to ensure that the City has sufficient finances to provide basic services to its residents.

These taxes expire every five years. They were last renewed in 2013. They have been in effect for more than 40 years. They are not new in the sense of a first time levy. They are not increases.

Tyler’s only real decision was to have the taxes on the ballot this year versus last year. It would be malfeasance to not put the taxes on the ballot for approval.

So…get over it.

These six tax propositions are for basic city services that benefit all city residents.

These include improving, repairing and maintaining city streets. They also pay for recreation centers, swimming pools, and playgrounds. The taxes also pay city employees, salaries, police and fire personnel uniforms, and equipment as well as employee pensions, life insurance, and hospitalization. Lastly, the taxes will continue current police staffing.

All of the tax propositions have been in effect for more than 40 years. Together they produce more than $11 million or 5 percent of the City’s total $221 million General Fund Budget.

For those that like to continually carp about city taxes, city property tax rates have been reduced by more than 6 mils in the last three years. Shreveport city taxes are now at their lowest levels since 1982.

The vote on April 28 is not a poll on Tyler’s job performance. It is not a vote for the next mayor, which will be in November, but a vote that will affect the city’s quality of life, and thus the city’s future.

Hopefully, Shreveport voters will separate any frustrations with city government from the importance of these tax propositions. Let’s don’t cut off our nose to spite our face.
Vote yes on all 6 tax propositions!

John Settle, Jr. is a Shreveport-Bossier based political columnist

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