Lafayette mayor-president proposes repeal of taxing districts, claims more discussion needed

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- New Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory is holding firm on his opposition to five newly created tax districts.

On Tuesday, his office released a statement announcing his plan for an ordinance proposal to repeal the economic development districts, which were approved before the city-parish council split.

Guillory said he will introduce the ordinance during the joint council meeting on March 3.

Throughout his campaign, Guillory was outspoken against the special tax districts.

In his statement Tuesday, the mayor-president said he believes there should be further “community discussion surrounding these controversial new entities with taxing powers.”

“Out of respect, I wanted to announce my intention to ask the Councils to reconsider these districts before their initial meetings tonight,” said Guillory. “I understand that there are differences of opinion on this issue, but I believe the matter is too important to just let it go unquestioned and unexamined.”

His office’s statement comes hours before the Economic Development District’s Board of Directors meeting to elect new officers for the five taxing districts on Tuesday.

In December, a group filed a lawsuit against the city of Lafayette claiming the tax districts violated state law. The plaintiffs named in the suit are Timothy Supple, Jeremiah Supple Keith Kishbaugh, Carol Ross, Mark Tolson and Ross Little.

The Downtown Development Authority has since filed to intervene in the lawsuit, claiming an “adverse ruling will negatively impact the economic future of the downtown Lafayette area.”

In Tuesday’s statement, Guillory said he thinks implementing new taxes without voter approval is a “fundamental breach of taxpayers’ trust, and we honestly don’t know what the ultimate impact on commerce will be.”

“I believe our community would benefit from a renewed public discussion of this issue. I hope we can engage in this dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual respect and shared purpose,” Guillory said.

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