SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - The West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is asking voters who live in Wards 4 and 7 in Calcasieu Parish and Ward 6 in Cameron Parish, to approve a new property tax to help the hospital keep up with rising health care costs.
The 10-year, 6.95 mill property tax will mainly be used for maintenance and operating expenses.
The millage will not only apply to the Sulphur hospital, but satellite facilities in Vinton and Hackberry, as well as the Genesis Therapeutic Riding Center.
"Healthcare is really in a perfect storm right now," said West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital CEO Bill Hankins. "We have a lot of rising expenses and we have a significant amount of Medicaid as well as Medicare reductions and one of the things that has happened is our bad debt has grown twenty percent in one year, which is very usual for this hospital"
Some have already expressed criticism of the proposal, saying a new tax is not needed given the current state of the economy. But Hankins says now is the perfect time for the tax.
"The timing is perfect. I went to both the Calcasieu and Cameron police jury [and] the vote was passed unanimously at both locations," said Hankins. " It's really going to give an opportunity for the citizens in this community to be able to see what we're offering here at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital and be able to support that"
The amount each taxpayer would have to pay depends on the value of their home, since the tax would be homestead exempt.
Voters will get to decide on the tax proposal when they head to the polls on March 27th during the municipal primary elections.