Both sides weigh in on property tax to fund CATS

POSTED: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 6:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 6:34pm

According to parish officials, the almost 11 mil property tax could cause some home owners to see a 79 percent hike in their property tax.

Jared Loftus, a CATS board member, says the increase is needed not just for CATS, but for East Baton Rouge Parish.

“This is not about sustaining the current system,” said Loftus, “this is about the future of transit in Baton Rouge.

Since the tax was first proposed, many in Baton Rouge, both people and businesses, have come out saying the tax isn't the right move. They say there's not enough accountability for the millions in taxes the move brings in.

There's also concern businesses who might benefit from increased routes won't have to pay any new taxes.

Sarah Holiday is with Taxbusters, the group leading the effort against Saturday's tax. She says there's other ways to get revamp the transit system.

“This tax should be about East Baton Rouge Parish so that we could have a mass transit system for everybody,” said Holiday. “I think that we could go back to the table, so that we could help people that need the bus system, but we don't have to spend $18 million to do that.”

CATS officials say that $18 million will bring more busses, more bus stops, and dramatically reduce the waiting time, which right now is 75 minutes.

“We’re going to have a better service, we're going to have a better product,” said Loftus. “We are getting exactly what we are paying for right now. If we want a better service, then it needs to be better funded. It’s really as simple as that.”

Holiday said, “We can do a lot of things… rather than tax people’s real estate.” 

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