I hope the voters in this parish educate themselves about the Sheriffs enormous sales tax proposal. It disappoints me that our sheriff is using the safety of our children and our emotions to push this tax on us. This tax will put Juban Crossing at a sales tax of over 11% and that is absurd. If he succeeds in passing this tax, it will become a part of his legacy and we will all be reminded of it every time we make a purchase especially the low income, and the elderly that are living on fixed incomes.
My name is Bobby Allen Achord and I live in Walker. I am opposed to the one half cent perpetual (forever) sales tax being proposed by the Livingston Parish Sheriff for the following reasons: 1. The tax is being proposed as a tax in perpetuity rather than a short term renewal which would allow voters to reconsider the need for the tax every few years. 2. The proposed tax would generate almost twice the amount needed to fund the resource officers. The extra millions would roll over into the sheriffs office to be used by this and all future sheriffs as they saw fit. 3. A review of the legislative auditors 2017 audit for the sheriffs office revealed an “unassigned fund balance” (read surplus) of $8,646,426 which was available for spending by the sheriff at his discretion. Audits for the past three years revealed that the sheriff gave himself a raise each year and is now making $159,540. 4. This tax is opposed by the Advocate which urged voters to vote No on the proposal for reasons of perpetuity and the excess monies generated. 5. The proposed tax is not publicly supported by any other Livingston Parish politician. 6. The Governor, politicians, school board and the sheriff steadfastly resists the training and arming of willing teachers and staff members citing the fear of an OK corral between the teachers/staff and responding officers. This will not happen when they jointly prepare a comprehensive security plan for their school and train together. 7. A review of the internet showed a vast majority of the sheriffs in this state (around 60) have not asked for a tax increase to fund school resource officers but have worked with their local school boards to provide funding or overtime for regular deputies.
It is not uncommon for some politicians, some advocacy groups, some organizations or even some private person(s) to play on our emotions by using children as their "Ace in the Hole." No one would disagree that it is of highest importance to protect our children and faculty in public schools. However; to use "student safety" as a reason to propose a perpetual (forever and a day) increase in taxes to the tune of $9.8 million PER year and say it is "urgent" in order to provide safety and security to the students and faculty is a bit much. Come on Sheriff Ard and others, your monetary figure outweighs your stated purpose of "student safety" and expose the real reason you want the tax proposal approved. You want lots of money to be used at your discretion and hope that playing on our emotions by using children as an excuse will get the tax passed at the ballot box. What next? If this sales tax passes, how long before you propose an increase because $9.8 million is just not enough to get the job done anymore? Surely, our children can be protected by other means that does not stuff your coffer. Maybe the public can offer suggestions that would be helpful to assure "student safety" that is much less costly than $9.8 million PER year for 55 school resource officers. We the people are smarter than you think.
And here we go! The good ole boy political machine is in high gear pushing the SRO tax upon the people of Livingston Parish. First of all, I should not receive a recorded message from my child’s school principal advocating for the tax’s passage. Second, Ard continues to play on people’s fears to push his selfish agenda. People-educate yourself before voting. Other Parishes/Counties have placed SROs on their campuses WITHOUT passing any new taxes. Ard and Wentzel can find the money if it as important as they claim it is to them. Don’t be sheep at the voting booth. Vote NO and force them to find other means of funding.