(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.
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: