St. Tammany Parish President kills sales tax after residents voice concerns

St. Tammany Parish President kills sales tax after residents voice concerns
Pat Brister is offering to testify before Senate for funding to widen a dangerous portion of I-12. Source: Pat Brister Facebook Page

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The St. Tammany Parish President rescinded the 3/4 cent economic development district sales tax that was enacted in January after residents voiced their concerns.

St. Tammany Parish residents believed the tax was illegally imposed against them, and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry's office reviewed the tax's legality.

Since the beginning of the year, anyone making a purchase in the parish's five economic development districts along the I-12 corridor paid an extra three-quarters percent sales tax.
That was on top of the taxes already imposed in the areas, meaning for every $4 spent the parish collected three pennies.

The taxes that were collected were intended to stay within the EDD for upgrades to the location, but the law stated that it could be used anywhere in the parish, according to an information pamphlet released by the St. Tammany Parish Chamber.

"I have spent a great deal of time listening to taxpayers and business leaders across St. Tammany Parish, and it is clear that they are not in favor of this Economic Development Tax," said Brister. "I have given notice to Sheriff Randy Smith to halt any collections on this tax, and will be asking that an ordinance be passed in the coming weeks to officially remove this new tax from being collected. While the revenue generated was helpful for economic development in the Parish, my primary job is to be responsible to the needs of residents of St. Tammany and it is clear that they do not want the tax."

The 2016 Economic Development District Taxes were adopted by the Parish Council at the November council meeting, and took effect on January 1, 2017.

Last year, all but one St. Tammany Parish council member approved the creation of the EDD tax.

There are six new Economic Development Districts along the I-12 corridor, which generated revenue to pay for infrastructure improvements, aesthetic changes and road construction inside these districts.