- Elliott Stonecipher
November 28, 2016
As I watched last Tuesday’s Shreveport City Council meeting on television, Mayor Ollie Tyler’s resentment of opposition was awful to see and hear.
Her garbage tax failed for many very good reasons, particularly the misinformation (I am being polite) she and her staff steadily fed citizens … which City Hall was repeatedly exposed for doing.
Yes, her comments to us were clear: salute her, or pay. So, we can expect her new tax-and-spend plan soon. That is bad news for we who pay her bills.
As I detail below, ANY increase in revenue and spending here is plain wacky. Our mayor’s fiscal nonsense will certainly accelerate Shreveport’s decline.
Property Tax Assessments Down … First Time in 27 Years
A new development bears mute testimony to how wrong it is to continuously raise taxes and spending here, as all else declines.
The Caddo Parish Tax Assessor has now lowered, overall, the assessed value of Caddo Parish households and other property … for the first time in more than a quarter-century. Some property tax payers will get a small break, others will pay more.
The REAL story, however, is this: with no underlying economic growth, taxation runs amok … especially property taxes … and local government refuses to shrink itself to match.
A new KTBS Television “ArkLaTex In Depth” feature by reporter Shon Gables presents the basic facts. (I thank KTBS for now airing this.)
I earlier completed and published the detailed report online, but silence from “leaders” followed. Ms. Gables’ well and ably reports its key finding:
“‘You can’t tax people to keep your economy going,” Stonecipher reiterated. But history shows it’s been done in Shreveport. Caddo Parish is right at the top when it comes to property and sales tax rates in Louisiana. And an analysis of data shows that over a 30 year period, the total assessed value of property in the parish, adjusted for inflation, increased just under 7 percent while taxes increased 70 percent. That’s 10 times the growth rate. In surrounding parishes, it averages three.”
My research focuses on data from the Annual Reports of our Caddo Tax Assessor, posted on the Louisiana Tax Commission website:
1. From 1983 to 2013 (the then-most-recent data year), local taxing authorities – City Hall, school board, Caddo Commission, etc. – raised property taxes 10.6-times as much as the rise in the value of all taxable parish property, a proxy for economic growth, in context.
2. After inflation adjustment of +134.02% during the period, the value of all taxable Caddo property (the economy) was stagnant, averaging a tiny two-tenths-of-one-percent a year for 30 years, a +6.77% total … from $1.889 billion to $2.017 billion.
3. But property taxes skyrocketed. Regardless that our economy has twice been gutted by oil and gas busts during the period, property taxes, inflation-adjusted, rose more than ten-times that much … +71.68% … $134.2 billion to $230.4 billion.
4. Elsewhere, that 10.6 factor of taxation vs. total property value, was much lower: 3.1 in Bossier, 2.5 in DeSoto, 3.4 East Baton Rouge, 2.3 Calcasieu, 3.1 Ouachita, and 1.8 in Rapides Parish.
- Thus, our community’s most remarkable and destructive feature, along with our public schools: bizarrely high property taxes.
Readers must grasp the back-story here. Yes, majorities of Shreveporters voted for these property taxes. But, only 1-in-3 householders here buy their homes and directly pay their property taxes.
In other words, in Shreveport / Caddo, property taxes are mainly voted ON property tax payers, not BY them. Those who know taxes are far higher than affordable effectively have no say. Their remaining defense? … Flee.
And, it is our unelected, self-anointed “leaders” who decide upon, and campaign for, these hikes … then raid our government coffers as our money flows in.
City of Shreveport Tax-and-Spend Madness
As for Mayor Tyler’s tax-and-spend jihad against us, ponder the last 10 years. This data is from City Hall’s budget documents on its website.
(Ex-Mayor Glover took over City Hall in 2007, Tyler two years ago. Effectively, she is his third term, and his top two handlers also handle her.)
1. The Census Bureau reports that Shreveport lost -3,502 residents, -1.7%, since July 1, 2006.
2. The real, private sector economy is in notable decline, as seen in the subject first-in-27-years overall property assessment drop.
3. Core – General Fund – revenue and spending by Glover / Tyler is up $34,843,200 (+18.1%) in real dollars, and $2,768,782 (+1.2%) inflation-adjusted.[In real dollars: $192,274,700 to $227,117,900. Inflation-adjusted: $224,349,118 to $227,117,900.]
4. Total (government) jobs at City Hall have risen by 24, or +0.9%, from 2,797 to 2,821 this year.
5. Mayor Tyler threatens to “punish” us with police cuts, without telling us there are 78 more employees now than 2007, an increase of +11.8%, but only 54 (of the 78) are in uniform.
Mayor Tyler – and any City Council members who tote her highly toxic tax-and-spend water – are again center stage.
They should plan, yes, but only to cut taxes and spending … aggressively. Instead, they intend more of the damaging same.
Yes, indeed … “Shreveport: Capital City of Tax-and-Spend.”
© 2016 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED