Baton Rouge man circulates CATS tax protest letters

photo by staff

POSTED: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 10:45pm

UPDATED: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 11:14pm

"We cannot deliver services if money is being held back from us," said CATS CEO Bob Mirabito.

More than 400 thousand of your city taxpayer dollars are stagnant. 

One man is suing CATS for a tax he calls unconstitutional.  10.6 million dollars of property taxes were to fund the transit system, but when the bill fit only the people living within city limits, Milton Graugnard took action and started a tax protest letter.

"Those who are living in the city of Baton Rouge are required to pay it, but there are many people outside the city of Baton Rouge who are getting the service. The protest letter is required in order to have your taxes that are pertaining to CATS escrowed," said Graugnard.

And Graugnard's not alone. More than a thousand people submitted letters and their property tax payments to the Sheriff's office. If Graugnard wins his case, taxpayers get their money back. If not, it goes to CATS.

"I am not anti-public transit, my lawsuit primarily focuses on whether or not the tax was passed in accordance with the constitution. And I think I will prove it, if I'm given the chance, that the tax was an unconstitutional tax."

But CATS CEO Bob Mirabito says, that's not the case.  "CATS can and is a taxing authority. They had the choice of parish-wide or city.  The CATS board chose to put it to a ballot and the voters voted for it."

53% voted in favor. Mirabito is concerned about CATS
"If the property taxes overturn, that could be the end or at least a very diminished CATS," said Mirabito.
Graugnard added, "People should not be required to pay for bus service that goes beyond the area that is taxed."

CATS Protest Letter.doc22.5 KB

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