BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes is hoping voters will approve an increase to the parish's sales tax. The tax is currently 9%, and Cazes wants to raise that a half-cent to 9.5%. If the increase passes that would make West Baton Rouge have one of the highest sales taxes in the region.
The Tea Party of Louisiana is against the tax and questions if it's even needed.
"I mean that is really putting a bind on the average gal and guy and mom and dad out there trying to make ends meets," says Bob Reid, with the Tea Party of Louisiana said.
"I mean asking for another 1/2 cent sales increase just doesn't make sense."
Sheriff Mike Cazes scheduled at least two interviews to explain the tax but canceled both of them through a representative, who also declined to answer questions on the record.
Reid says his research shows that the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office is 'living too high on the hog.' He questions what he calls a generous and excessive benefits package given to sheriff's office employees- including a high match to their retirement contributions and the office paying 100% of employee health insurance premiums.
Reid shared an email that DOW Louisiana Operators supervisors sent out to their employees that says the tax isn't good for business.
Much of the West Baton Rouge government relies on huge amounts of taxes paid by the various industries in the parish.
"Where do you think the people in West Baton Rouge parish are going to shop if they go up to 9 ½%? I'd go over to Pointe Coupee, wouldn't you? I'd come over to East Baton Rouge, would you? Are they going to attract any big box retail? Where's the next Target or the next Super Walmart going to go?" Reid asked.
The tax increase is the only item on the March 28th ballot.