Editor: CATS tax unfairly targets the poor
While there's a contingent of supporters for the Capital Area Transit System tax on Saturday's ballot—including the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge—who are making an argument that voting for the 10-year, 10.6-mill property tax is the morally right thing to do, Business Report Executive Editor JR Ball isn't buying it. In his latest column, Ball says the argument rings hollow because the tax unfairly targets the same pockets of the poorest residents who some say will benefit most by the tax. "Where I differ from those staking out the moral high ground is that the means do matter, regardless of how noble the ends might be," Ball says. "There are a handful of reasons why this tax should be defeated; chief among them is that it unfairly targets the poor, while exempting major retailers and employers that greatly benefit from CATS service." Among those who are outside the taxing district are upscale shopping centers such as Mall of Louisiana, Perkins Rowe and Towne Center, as well as the soon-to-open L'Auberge Casino. In addition, Ball says, "Much of the middle class and a majority of the wealthy live outside a taxing district chosen only so that this measure could get on the ballot in April." Regardless, Ball says he expects "this morally flawed tax" will pass on Saturday "because those who can least afford to pay it will choose to support it." Read the full column here, and send your comments to [email protected].
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