St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee Endorses 2 Tax Renewals

COVINGTON, LA – At its monthly meeting last Thursday, March 30, the St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee (RPEC) endorsed two sales tax renewals on the April 29 ballot.

         After hearing presentations from Sheriff Randy Smith and representatives of Parish Government, the RPEC voted to endorse the 1/5-cent sales taxes to fund the Parish Jail and the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center.

         Both taxes were originally passed in 1998, providing a quarter-cent sales tax for each project. Last spring, the Parish asked voters to approve renewals, and both were defeated. In the interim, the Parish reduced both taxes by 20 percent and changed the term from 20 to 10 years. A portion of the Justice Center tax will also be directed to specialty court programs, including Drug Court and Veterans Court.

         In the interest of fairness, the RPEC also heard from representatives of Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany, which opposes these renewals.

         "The purpose of government at all levels is to provide essential services," said RPEC Chair Larry Frieman. "These taxes provide funding for public services that are, in fact, essential. Although we usually oppose or take no position on tax propositions, we believe these are vital to public safety and we encourage voters to renew these reduced sales tax propositions."

         RPEC is a statutory body consisting of 19 members, with five elected at-large and one from each Parish Council district.

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