Parish, City, ASPO agree to 10 percent taxing district

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley

The Ascension Parish Council, the City of Donaldsonville, and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office have made an agreement to reduce the sales taxing amount in the Wal-Mart shopping area from 11 percent to 10 percent.

After much discussion, some disagreement, the parish agreed to amend the way it collects sales tax revenues in portions of taxing districts annexed by municipalities.

The call for change came after a tax revenue-sharing agreement among the parish government, the City of Donaldsonville and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office expired.

Because of the expiration, on April 1, sales taxes in the Wal-Mart shopping area rose two cents on the dollar, from nine to 11 cents, after a deal to renew the original revenue-sharing agreement could not be reached.

Ascension Parish Council Chairman Chris Loar says it was very important that they got the tax rate lowered “so that people's pocketbooks weren't continuing to be impacted at paying that higher rate.”

“Donaldsonville needs all the economic advantages it can get, and this was a disadvantage it didn't need,” Loar said. “However, it was a complicated issue due to its unique history, with lots of competing interests and valid concerns from all sides.” 

According to the new ordinance, the parish would keep half the net proceeds from any portion of its two sales tax districts annexed into municipalities prior to May 7, 2009, the effective date of the original revenue-sharing agreement.

Areas annexed after that date would see the parish retain 75 percent of its tax collections, under the revised law.

The matter won’t become final until a new agreement among the three public entities is signed.

The move would mean shoppers at stores in the 750 acres along La. 3089 that had been annexed into Donaldsonville would see sales taxes fall from its current 11 cents down to 10 cents: the city’s current 9-cent collection and a half-cent each for the parish and sheriff.

Donaldsonville leaders wanted to bring total sales tax rates in the annexed area back to the original nine percent set in the prior agreement. That contract created a benchmark keeping the sheriff and parish from collecting their revenues until the city collected $1.75 million in sales tax revenue citywide.

Once the new agreement is signed, the new collection rate will begin on Jan. 1, allowing businesses in the district time to prepare for the change.