Carriere lacks business tax base

Published 1:39 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Editor:

Before we rush to make Carriere a city, here’s one more thing to consider:

The City of Picayune gets a huge amount of revenue from business taxes. Businesses pay high property taxes because their property values are high. Retail businesses also collect state sales taxes, part of which are returned to the city.

Just imagine how much money Picayune gets from Wal-Mart, Home Depot, the grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, car dealers, industries, banks and the many other businesses, large and small. Without all that, residents of Picayune would be paying much higher taxes to fund their city services.

What does Carriere have? A few small businesses and a dollar store. Compared to Picayune, practically nothing. Yet the “city” of Carriere would need a police department, fire department, road department, and most of the other city offices and staff that Picayune has. Who’s going to pay for that? Practically all of it would fall on individual residents. Much of Carriere is classified as farm or forest lands, which are taxed at a lower rate, so the burden would fall on homeowners. Without a business tax base, there’s no way homeowners’ taxes would be low.

The low tax rate being promised for Carriere is not guaranteed. In fact, the people making that promise don’t have the power to decide the tax rate. It would be whatever it takes to pay for the city’s expenses, and you can be sure it would be higher than they’re telling you.

I must repeat: why is no one asking to see Picayune’s actual annexation plans? Wouldn’t it make sense to know what we’re fighting instead of shooting in the dark? Wouldn’t all this effort to collect signatures for incorporation be better spend on a petition to oppose annexation?

There’s a reason why rural communities aren’t incorporated as cities. Without a substantial business tax base, they can’t afford it. We can’t afford to make Carriere a city just because of unfounded fears or some peoples’ political ambitions. The money won’t come from their pockets. It will come from yours.