Feb 4, 2013 5:58 PM by Ian Auzenne

Council to Vote on Elminating Tax Rebate

The Lafayette City-Parish Council will vote tomorrow night on an ordinance that would eliminate a tax rebate businesses receive. The current city ordinance allows businesses to collect two percent of their total sales taxes if they made timely payments to the city. According to City-Parish President Joey Durel, the city would take in an extra $1.4 million in revenue if the rebate is revoked.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is opposing the measure. "Anything that negatively impacts a restaurant members' bottom line is a concern to the LRA," the organization said in a press release. "{W}hile this may seem like a small amount, there are more than 200 governmental entities that still provide for these discounts."

Durel countered by questioning the legality of such a rebate. "shortly after I was first elected, the attorney general issued a ruling preventing governments from putting gravel in people's driveways and giving culverts to private citizens," he said. "This is the same thing. How can we legally give away public money to private businesses?"

Durel also sees hypocrisy in allowing the rebate while asking residents to pay higher taxes. "How can we raise taxes when we aren't collecting all of the taxes?" he asked. "This is one way to pay for parks and recreations, police pay raises, and fire pay raises without raising taxes."

The council will decide the tax rebate's fate during Tuesday night's meeting, which takes place at 5:30 P. M. at LCG.



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