Breaux Bridge passes 1¢ sales tax
By Ken Grissom
BREAUX BRIDGE – This city made history Tuesday by becoming the first in Louisiana to carve out a commercial taxing district that will benefit the entire community.
After an impassioned pep talk by Mayor Jack Dale Delhomme, the City Council created a special taxing district along the south side of the I-10 corridor and then levied a one-cent sales tax in the district dedicated to economic development and infrastructure improvement.
Because there are no residences in the district, no general vote of the public was required.
The money raised by the tax – still largely an unknown because most of the district has yet to be developed – will be used for the development of infrastructure to serve the nascent commercial district.
But, Delhomme noted, improvements to water, sewage and drainage – let alone the spin-off from development – will be good for the whole city.
“Every single person in the Breaux Bridge area will benefit from this tax,” said Delhomme.
He gave credit to the city’s legislative delegation, state Sen. Troy Hebert and Rep. Fred Mills, and to SMEDA executive director Beth Guidry and Parish President Guy Cormier for their efforts in crafting and obtaining legislative authorization for what has become a pilot program for the state.
Delhomme especially lauded Mills, who as a freshman legislator was able to garner wide support for the measure in Baton Rouge.
The taxing district includes businesses on both sides of Rees Street down to and excluding Doug Ashy Building Materials.
The measure brings the sales tax rate inside the district to 8.5 percent, leaving it at 7.5 percent in the rest of the city except for the annexed portion north of the interstate. There, a one-cent tax for rural roads brings the rate to 8.5 percent.
The extra penny in tax won’t affect the purchase of vehicles at Jackie Edgar Ford because sales taxes on motor vehicles are assessed at the rate that applies to the purchaser’s residence.
At 7.5 percent, Breaux Bridge has the lowest sales tax rate of comparable size city in Acadiana, Delhomme said. Moreover, only a penny of that goes to the city, he said. The rest is split between the state, school board and sheriff’s office, Delhomme said.
The new tax goes into effect Jan. 1.