EVANGELINE PARISH, La. (KLFY) — The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department is proposing a new sales tax to help with current budget constraints.
Brian Ardoin, a former Louisiana state trooper, says he is not against increasing the department’s budget, but he feels increasing the sales tax is not the answer.
On April 24, Evangeline Parish residents will be asked to approve a one-cent sales tax proposed by Sheriff Charles Guillory. Guillory says for the last 40 years, the department has been operating on a tight budget.
“If you had a paycheck that was set in 1977, you would not be able to make ends meet today,” said Guillory. “I’m having a very difficult time.”
With the sales tax increase, he would expand patrolling and investigation, something he says he doesn’t have money for now.
“I only have two,” said the sheriff. “If I had six or seven that would make a great difference.”
He currently works with a $2.2 million budget. If approved, the proposed tax would increase his budget nearly $3.5 million a year, for a total new budget around $5.7 million.
But, Ardoin thinks a tax increase is not what’s best for residents in the parish.
“I do feel like they do need a raise and I do feel they should get that raise, but you do not rob Peter to pay Paul,” said Ardoin.
Ardoin feels increasing the sales tax would only hurt those who already struggle to make ends meet.
“Every week, there is folks out there that doesn’t make enough money to put food on their table but we are asking them to pay more taxes,” said Ardoin.
Right now, Evangeline Parish residents pay 9.45% in sales taxes. Adding the one-cent sales tax would increase taxes to 10.45%.
Ardoin says this would put Evangeline parish in the top 5% of the country in highest sales tax.
“‘It’s really not fair to the people.”
Ardoin says Sheriff Guillory should weigh his options before increasing the sales tax.