(I know I said we would be exclusively publishing on the subject of Tibet until tomorrow night, so please excuse and forgive this brief interruption).

Neil Kavanagh of The Northside Journal, a semi-regular blog/ weekly (?) that focuses on the issues of north Rapides Parish, recently published an editorial accusing Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy of using misleading and inaccurate numbers to somehow trick the people of Rapides Parish into increasing the City of Alexandria’s tax allocation.

For those of you not familiar with the inside baseball, Buck Lincecum of the Rapides Parish Police Jury is proposing to change the way a one-percent sales tax is allocated in the parish in order to allow smaller municipalities a greater share of the proceeds. He claims this proposal would be based on “population” and that because Alexandria has decreased in population, its share should be reduced.

The problem: Alexandria’s population has not decreased in recent years. It’s actually increased. And the proposal to base the allocation on population does not actually accomplish what it claims to do.

Kavanagh writes:

Apparently Jacques Roy believes numbers can be twisted and massaged to produce the desired results. Roy has manufactured statistics using questionable numbers from dubious sources to convince the parish that Alexandria should actually get more money than they get now! In Mayor Roy’s world, two apples plus two oranges equals 5.67 bananas, especially when he’s squawking about a possible loss in tax revenue.

First of all, none of the statistics were “manufactured.” The numbers Mayor Roy used were from the Rapides Parish Police Jury, the United States Census, and the Louisiana Tech School of Business. They were clearly sourced and referenced, and if anyone needs clarification, I would be happy to help.

These aren’t questionable numbers from dubious sources. They’re official numbers from official sources.

He did not cherry-pick anything. In fact, he used as much publicly available and relevant data as possible in order to paint the most accurate picture of the current allocation and current population trends, both in Alexandria and across Rapides Parish.

Second, and more importantly, no one in the City of Alexandria, including the Mayor, has at any time suggested that the City’s allocation should be increased. Mr. Kavanagh, that is a flat-out lie. And you say it twice in your editorial.

And speaking of creative math, Kavanagh continues:

The one cent parish sales tax generated $23,518,351.09 in the same year, 2006. Of that total, half is dedicated to the Rapides Parish School Board for purposes of discussion and/or calculation. The total amount available to be distributed to the cities and towns is $11,759,175.04.

In 2006, Alexandria received $7,761,055.5 of the allocation or 66%!

Any way you look at these numbers, they tell the same story. Alexandria has only 37% of the parish population yet they receive 66% of the available tax money.

This is a disingenuous argument. It’s true that Alexandria gets 66% of 50%, which is 33% of the total allocation.

It’s not accurate to suggest Alexandria gets 66% of the “available tax money.” The entire allocation is available tax money.

The allocation is currently structured to provide 50% to the Rapides Parish School Board, 33% to Alexandria, 9% to the Police Jury, 5% to the City of Pineville, and less than one percent each to the smaller municipalities and townships, with the exception of the Town of Ball, which was incorporated years after this allocation was structured.

Alexandria generates 58% of the tax. Alexandria has 37% of the parish population. And Alexandria receives 33%. Period.

It’s so simple that even a sixth grader can understand.

And it bears repeating, Mr. Kavanagh, no one suggests that Alexandria is entitled to a larger share.

H/t to WeSawThat for posting Mayor Roy’s entire 41-minute long presentation:

3 thoughts

  1. Until everyone realizes that Kavanaugh and Northside Journal is nothing more than a PR piece put out to promote Clarence Fields and Roy Hebron and until the past “relationship’ and deeds done by Kavanaugh / Dupree and Nathan Martin the truth will not be understood. The Northside Journal makes 100% of its money off of ads . NONE of the papers are bought at any of the stores and im told the subscription numbers are minimal. Its there for political purposes ONLY>

  2. I believe that you left out a group of Kavanagh’s string pullers, and that is the shady influences of the Republican Party. It seems clear that Kavangh has dreams of growing up to become a political pundit, but he lacks the intelligence and credibility.

  3. So this really irritates me that this debate keeps going on with Alexandria being demonized as somehow gorging itself on tax dollars that other municipalities can’t live without.
    One of the reasons I find it annoying is because currently fewer tax dollars from this tax go to Alexandria that are actually generated in Alexandria. Yet, Roy Hebron and John Lincecum seem to feel that their town of Ball is somehow being unfairly treated. They have both expressed a commitment not to harming Alexandria but in only ensuring that their districts get all of the tax money that should be rightfully theirs.

    Well the main source of local tax money for small municipalities, wards, districts and such is and has always been property taxes. Unfortunately we have a nice system here in Louisiana by which we can easily cheat the system and not pay those same taxes our communities so desperately need.

    The first trick is simple — homes and property are assessed at 10% of their value. That in itself is strange since we would obviously not be willing to sell our homes for 10 cents on the dollar but so be it.

    Secondly if you know your assessor and can sweet talk him into giving you a deal you can have your property assessed well below its market value. This is great, especially if you can get it assessed for less than the homestead exemption level.

    The great thing there is that people pay no taxes on the value of their homes below that exemption. What this all comes down to is someone having a very expensive house that is taxed as if it were trash land.

    It helps on the tax bill but really hurts the tax base in your district. Well, with the great concern that Mayor Hebron and Juror Lincecum have shown for their respective tax bases certainly they would never try to cheat their own constituencies out of rightful tax dollars. Right?

    Well, here are their current tax records from the Rapides Parish Assessor’s Office. You decide:

    HEBRON, ROY E. & GINGER B.
    152 DRYDEN RD.
    BALL, LA 71405

    ASSESSED VALUES

    Total: $15,364

    Homestead: $7,500

    Taxable: $7,864

    PARISH WIDE TAX TOTAL

    Total: $1,681.99

    Homestead: $821.44

    Tax Paid: $860.55

    CITY OF BALL TAX PAID:

    Tax Paid: $262.88

    LINCECUM, JOHN T
    6502 SPRINGHILL RD
    PINEVILLE, LA 71360

    ASSESSED VALUES

    HEBRON, ROY E. & GINGER B.
    152 DRYDEN RD.
    BALL, LA 71405

    ASSESSED VALUES

    Total: $3,864

    Homestead: $3,864

    Taxable: $0

    PARISH WIDE TAX TOTAL

    Total: $422.83

    Homestead: $422.83

    Tax Paid: $0

    CITY OF BALL TAX PAID:

    Tax Paid: $66.11

    Well, I’m no realtor and have not personally seen Mayor Hebron or Police Juror Lincecum’s homes. But I somehow doubt that their assessed values — especially Mr. Lincecum who is aparently living in such poverty that his home is only worth $35k.

    This just goes to show the idiocy of this whole fairness argument. The two top proponents of getting Ball their rightful share of income are actually actively working to make sure they themselves never have to pay taxes to those same areas.

    Politicians change I suppose, but politics rarely does.

    This just shows the idiocy of this entire argumeme

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