BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is opposing two tax proposals on the May 4 ballot for teacher pay raises and education technology.
The two tax proposals would add up to an average 24 percent tax increase in Bossier Parish.
“We’re just asking for a collaboration and a conversation. Is there a better way to do this?” said chamber president Lisa Johnson.
“The money is not there. So where does this money come from? Are we hoping to win the lottery?” asked Jordan Thomas, a teacher advocate with Red River United.
The two sides know there is a problem but are at odds on the solution.
“It is a very big issue for us as an organization that represents the business community,” Johnson said in explaining why the chamber sent out a statement on April 19 asking for the proposals to be taken off the May 4 ballot.
“A month before the election. It’s not new news,” Thomas points out.
The proposals remain on the ballot.
The chamber says it was not in favor of a similar tax proposal years ago and in 2012 offered to collaborate to approach teacher compensation. According to the U.S. Census, Bossier Parish has seen almost double-digit growth since 2010 but Thomas says its teachers are some of the lowest paid in the region.
“We knew something was coming, something was coming to a head. Something in Bossier Parish had to be done.”
According to the Bossier Parish tax assessor’s office, businesses in the parish pay 70 percent of property taxes. The chamber said businesses will be pressed for time if the proposal passes because it’s retroactive.
“The business community and the homeowners have roughly six months to prepare for a 24 percent increase that has to be paid on December 31st, 2019,” said Johnson.