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Thursday, January 29 2009 - 11:44 am

There are two issues that are very significant and will affect the lives of all the home owners and businesses of Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes.  I would like to know what your thoughts are regarding these issues, and you can reply to this email to let me know.

Homestead Exemption-
Some are calling for the Legislature to raise the Homestead Exemption, which, incidentally, is already the highest in the country.  However, I am concerned about raising the Homestead Exemption because preliminary figures show that action will increase taxes on many residents and all businesses. Our Constitution mandates that the taxing authority receive the same amount of money as they did in the previous taxing period.  The result of any increase in the Homestead Exemption is that fewer people will be paying property taxes and millages will be automatically rolled forward so that local government does not lose any funding.  If the Exemption is raised from $75,000 to $100,000 and your home is valued at $160,000 to $180,000 or more, your property taxes may be going up, not down.  The breakeven point for taxes varies from parish to parish, and I will have Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parish figures shortly.

I know it is counterintuitive, but if we want our property taxes to go down, a reduction in the Homestead Exemption is needed.

The real problem, as I see it, is the public bodies that continue to take our tax dollars and roll-forward, thereby increasing the amount of tax we pay every year.  This procedure must be stopped.  Maybe the Homestead Exemption needs to be left alone.  Legislation is now being planned by your Northshore delegation to stop this roll-forward from happening.  

My questions are these – Should we leave the Homestead Exemption alone??  Should we concentrate on stopping public bodies from rolling forward without a vote of the people?

As many of you know, I am not much for gambling, either personally or from a business perspective.  To me, Louisiana has already proved to not be capable of handling gambling, and much of the corruption we have seen in our state over the years is tied directly to gambling.  Our former governor is still in jail today for his participation in the promotion of gambling.

Parish President Kevin Davis is doing the right thing by gathering information on gaming in St. Tammany Parish, and he will announce his findings and intentions at the appropriate time in the future.  I am also gathering information and have amassed quite a bit of literature regarding gambling and its effect on local communities.  If President Davis decides to pursue this issue, it will first have to be ratified by the St. Tammany Parish Council before it can be introduced into the Legislature.  The issue will be required to pass both the House and the Senate and finally be signed by Governor Jindal.  If all of the above comes to pass, the gambling issue would then be placed on a ballot for a vote of the people of St. Tammany Parish.

My question is -- Do you think gambling is an appropriate industry to introduce to the Northshore?

Please let me hear from you, and thank you for allowing me to represent you.