Oct 19, 2011 10:02 PM by Shawn Kline

Property tax for schools. Are you for or against it?

Supporters of a new property tax explain why voters should approve it this Saturday:
More than $500-million will help renovate Lafayette's schools if the tax is approved.

"We can give them a sense of pride in their facilities." Sarah Walker of the Parent Coalition says, "and have those facilities ready for the 21st century."

Then again, take a look at the other side of the coin:

$500-million is a lot of money. Then add the interest over the next twenty years and it's going to cost tax payers nearly $1-billion.

"Look at your 2011 tax bill, multiply it times 1.29 and that would give individuals a rough estimate of what your tax bill might be," Lafayette's Tax Assessor Conrad Comeaux said.

Comeaux has been crunching the numbers ever since the tax hit the ballot.
The average home in Lafayette for example, is valued at around $167,000.

If the tax passes this Saturday, those homeowners could owe another $200/year.

"A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there and it winds up being a little bit of money," Jeremiah Supple said.

Supple says he's not ready to pony-up that kind of cash to just improve some buildings.

"We need to invest in education." Supple says, "but investing in buildings is not the same thing."

Louisiana is ranked 23rd in the nation when it comes to spending on education. Taxpayers spend about $12,000 per student.

Supple says improving the buildings won't necessarily mean improved test scores.

"I don't think it's the quality of the building that determines the quality of education," Supple said.

The tax will also be a little higher for business owners as well as property owners on parish land.



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