What you need to know about the upcoming sales tax election

NOTE – This is the third part of a series published exclusively in the Jackson Parish Journal regarding the upcoming sales tax election. Over the next several weeks we will look at among other things: what a sales tax represents, how the tax is derived, why parish officials state that an increase is needed, where the additional funds will be applied and when the new tax rate, if approved, will take effect. Today – How are “ad valorem” tax dollars allocated in Jackson Parish?

Just what is a tax dollar and how is it derived? The tax dollars are levied by the taxing bodies, such as the police jury, school board, etc., and are collected by the Sheriff’s Office as Ex-Officio Tax Collector. There are two primary types of tax dollars generated, one being an “ad valorem” tax and the other being a “sales tax” with the “ad valorem” tax generating the majority of parish revenue. Earlier in the series it was explained what a “sales tax” is and how it is derived. It is important to also know how the “ad valorem” tax dollars are generated and where those dollars go. 

As defined by the jacksonassessor.org website, the “ad valorem” basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed “according to value” which is the definition of ad valorem. The assessed value is a percentage of the “fair market value” or “use value” as prescribed by law. Property is assessed as follows:

  1. Land – 10% of its “fair market value” or “use value”
  2. Residential Improvements – 10% “fair market value”
  3. Commercial – (includes personal property) – 15% “fair market value”
  4. Commercial Land – 10% “fair market value”

The tax assessor’s primary responsibility is to determine the “fair market value” of your property so that you pay only your fair share of the taxes. The amount of taxes you pay is determined by the “millage rate”, which is applied to your property’s assessed value. The millage rate, as voted by the public, is levied by all the taxing agencies within the district, city, parish or state. This includes school districts, police juries, law enforcement districts, etc. The millage rate is the basis for the budget needed or demanded by the voters to provide for services such as schools, roads, law enforcement, etc. Millage rates are simply those rates which will provide funds to pay for those services.

According to information provided by the Jackson Parish Police Jury, $21,477,885.00 in tax dollars was generated in Jackson Parish in 2020. Seems like a lot doesn’t it? In reality though the actual dollars that aren’t mandated by the state to go certain areas is not that much in relation to the total amount of tax dollars that is brought in.  

 A breakdown of where the tax dollars are allocated in Jackson Parish in descending order is as follows:

Amount in dollarsArea Allocated
5,443,327School Board
4,339,260Law Enforcement
1,981,236Police Jury – Roads
1,235,498Ambulance Service
1,091,915Police Jury – General
937,953Recreation District
885,274Tax Assessor
555,068Council on Aging
404,822Fire District 4
391,327Fire District 3
377,513Fire District 2
338,153Fire District 1
162,065Health Unit

One thought on “What you need to know about the upcoming sales tax election

  1. Seems to me that we need to look at reallocation of funds to areas in need, instead of more taxes. What keeps coming to mind about what seems like such a small amount is the cumulative amount when you look at all the taxes assessed on a working person. The old adage the straw that broke the camels back suits this perfectly.

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