This year’s record setting $1.42 billion tax roll for St. Charles Parish got its boost from winning a nearly 20-year tax dispute over how tax revenue from Louisiana’s two nuclear plants was shared.
Parish Tax Assessor Tab Troxler outlined the numbers to its annual report for Parish Council approval at Monday’s meeting.
Troxler said the parish’s total tax value is up from last year’s $1.2 billion, which increased when the Louisiana Tax Commission announced in February the tax dollars from Entergy’s two nuclear plants – Waterford 3 in St. Charles Parish and River Bend in West Feliciana Parish – will go to the parishes where they are located instead of all 60 parishes that have Entergy customers.
Troxler also estimated the change should decrease Entergy’s tax bill by $1 million a year.
In actual dollars, the increase will represent $19 million in new tax dollars for 2018. Troxler said Waterford 3 coming on the parish’s tax roll was the major contributor to the growth, but other large contributors include increasing value of stored oil in the parish that is also taxed, as well as increasing value from large commercial growth and audits.
“The good news is everybody pays,” Troxler said. “The tax rate does not rise, but the parish tax collection goes up.”
St. Charles Parish has the state’s eighth largest tax roll, he said.
“It improves everything from levee protection, law enforcement, hospitals, mosquito control to lighting,” he said. The money is routed based on voter-approved millages.
Troxler estimated the parish had already lost $140 million in tax revenue in the last 20 years and stood to lose another $60 million over the next 10 years.
It was a change that proved challenging until the state Legislative Auditor’s 2017 report on public service properties (utilities) disagreed with how the Tax Commission was valuing this property, he said.
“When something is built in that parish it gets the full value … the only exception in the entire state was those two nuclear plants,” Troxler said. “There was no law anywhere where that was allowable, but that has been going on for 20 years.”