Two new national reports underscore troubling facts about the debt we owe, and about the surprisingly high levels of taxes we pay.

Cumulative Credit Scores of Shreveporters, Louisiana Neighbors and Other Americans

The first report was published last week by Gannett News Service, the owner of the Shreveport Times, in its USA Today newspaper.  Using data from global credit information group Experian, the Gannett report ranks the cumulative credit scores of residents in 143 American cities.  The cumulative credit score for Shreveporters is 5th-worst in the nation, a rank of 139th.  New Orleans ranks 105th, Lafayette 109th, Baton Rouge 111th, and Monroe 140th.  (SEE study details here and here.)

Louisiana Sales Tax Rates Near-Highest in America    

The second report is from America’s go-to source on levels of taxation, the non-partisan Tax Foundation.  Contrary to the constant assertion of so many of our elected officials, Louisiana shows up in this new study of sales taxes with a combined state and local sales tax average which is 3rd-highest among all states.  While the combined average sales tax rate for Louisiana is 8.84% in the study, Shreveport’s is a bit lower at 8.60%, but not for long:  various local governing bodies have plans – discussed anywhere other than in public, of course – to raise sales taxes in Shreveport / Caddo Parish and Bossier City / Bossier Parish to 9.00% or higher.  (See study report and details here.)

What These and Other Studies Reveal, in Context

Each reader will judge the relationship between these new studies and what we know or are learning about existing tax and debt levels in our home areas.  For Shreveporters – already paying property taxes which are by far the highest among Louisiana cities – all such facts and studies underscore the outrageousness of the city’s non-stop tax and debt increases.  Mayor Cedric Glover is supercharging the public debt held by Shreveport taxpayers with the $175,000,000 bond issue earlier this year and his intended near-$100,000,000 additional debt for his highly suspect “street repair” program.  To add insult to very real financial injury to his constituents, Glover’s latest tax increase – a 150% increase in the electricity franchise tax a few weeks ago – was passed without a vote of the people.

As an increasingly bad economy bears down on more and more of us, as well as on our family members, friends and neighbors, we certainly don’t need our local politicians continuing such dramatic increases in taxes and public debt.

It is true, of course, that no one has consistently and accurately predicted where local economies will be in a year, or five years or twenty-five years.  Regardless, many of us do know, perfectly well, where these tax and spending levels lead – especially in the prolonged recession likely ahead of us.  One way or the other, virtually every one of us has learned, or is learning, that our personal debt and spending has to be cut.

It is inarguably the case – especially in Shreveport and Caddo – that many of our elected leaders know no such thing.

Elliott Stonecipher

Evets Management Services, Inc.
6658 Youree Drive
Suite 180, #367
Shreveport, LA  71105
Phone:  318-424-1695