Now that some two dozen of the most prominent business leaders calling Baton Rouge home have decreed that the “greater good” of East Baton Rouge Parish is absolute, perhaps this august cohort can turn its better together attention to the job not being done by our tax assessor.
Brian Wilson’s job is to pretty much drive around the parish and accurately determine the taxable value of every parcel of private property and any associated house or building. Yet his decades-long willful ineptitude is forcing all of us to pay higher than necessary millage rates by allowing a rather sizable segment of our property-owning population to not pay anything close to their fair share in taxes, writes Business Report Executive Editor J.R. Ball in his new opinion piece.
How can this not be cause for outrage? This is an insult to the greater good’s underlying principles.
No doubt, I’ve rung this Starkville-sized cowbell before, Ball says, but—inspired by the better angels of our good government—it’s clear, as famed music producer Bruce Dickenson implored to Blue Öyster Cult, “I got a fever … and the only prescription … is more cowbell.”
Seriously, if people like John Engquist, Sean Reilly, Jim Bernhard, Mike Wampold and Richard Lipsey, along with a who’s who cast of a dozen or so more, believe the creation of St. George and the resulting annual city-parish sales tax loss of between $48 million and $60 million (and rising with each passing lawsuit and budget impact statement) is a death knell for life as we know it in our world of consolidated government, then surely the every year loss of millions upon millions of property tax dollars is worthy of a call to greater good arms.
The greater good is a wonderful thing—but only when it applies universally, Ball writes.
Read his full column here, in which he calls out the city-parish leadership and questions why nothing is being done about the millage rates and property assessments.