Sales tax returns may be slowing in St. Mary
By: JEAN L. KAESS
PATTERSON — Sales tax collections for the first quarter of 2012 were up 2.6 percent from the same period in 2011.
With $10.4 million collected through March via the 4 percent sales tax, cash flow slightly outpaced the 2011 collected amount of $10.1 million.
January collections were $4.31 million, February $2.97 million, and March $3.12 million.
April numbers, however, are indicating a decline in collections, according to St. Mary Sales and Use Tax Assistant Director Jeffery LaGrange.
Meanwhile, LaGrange noted that his office began collecting Morgan City’s 0.3 percent sales tax dedicated to street repair and maintenance as of Jan. 1.
For the first quarter, $130,000 was collected.
Parish Sales Tax Director Barry Dufrene also warned parish leaders gathered at the St. Mary Council of Governments meeting Monday that legislation being considered in Baton Rouge would exempt all prescription drugs from sales taxes.
Doing so, Dufrene said, will remove about $1 million from the coffers of various St. Mary Parish governments, half of that being taken from the school system.
He urged governmental leaders to call state legislators and voice their opposition to the bill.
Also during Monday’s meeting, Judge William Dupont of Plaquemine made an appearance. He is running for the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal, which encompasses St. Mary Parish.
Parish Councilman Albert Foulcard also proposed changing the parish bar closing time from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
The next Council of Governments meeting will be July 30, hosted by the City of Patterson.