Tax hike keeps sales taxes on par with 2007 totals

Deidre Cruse

Iberville’s parishwide 2008 sales taxes totaled more than $40 million, an increase of nearly $225,000 for the year, according to the latest report from the Iberville Sales Tax Department.

The total, however, included a one-third cent tax increase that contributed some  $2.1 million to the total.

Sales tax collections are a major indicator of the economic health of the parish.

In December, sales tax collections totaled more than $3.5 million, an increase of more than $1 million compared to December 2007. The new one-third cent tax contributed nearly $215,000 of the increase.

Voters in 2006 approved a new one-cent sales tax for the Iberville Parish Council and the parish’s six municipalities. It has been phased in over three years, with the second one-third cent going into effect in 2009 and the full penny being assessed starting this month.

Last year, the Parish Council and the municipalities shared nearly $19.8 million in proceeds from a total of two and one-third cents in sales taxes, an increase of $1.58 million over 2007. Nearly $5.3 million was from the new tax.

In December, the local governments received $1.75 million, an increase of nearly $593,000 from December 2007.

The Iberville Parish School Board received $17.35 million from its two cents in sales taxes in 2008, a decrease of nearly $1.2 million.

Last month, the School Board took in $1.53 million, an increase of $372,107 from the previous December.

The one-third cent Solid Waste Tax that funds residential garbage collections and litter pick-up produced nearly $2.9 million in 2008, a decrease of $198,568 over the previous year.

In December, the Solid Waste Tax yielded $256,512, an increase of $62,018 over December 2007.

The two percent tax on hotel and motel room rentals produced $36,807 last year, a $9,830 increase over 2007. The increase reflected the opening of a new hotel in Plaquemine.

The hotel/motel tax, used to promote tourism, yielded $3,154 in December, an increase of $3,094 over the previous December.

The City of St. Gabriel, which levies a separate one-third cent tax within its corporate limits, received $630,727 last year, an increase of $26,978 over 2007.

St. Gabriel’s tax produced $48,825 in December, a $17,743 increase compared to the previous year.