Alliance for Positive Growth launches Calcasieu tax education portal

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Have you ever looked at your property tax bill and wondered how the money you pay is used? What about the sales tax that is added to your purchases? The local organization Alliance for Positive Growth has put together an interactive web page aimed at helping citizens understand what they pay and where it goes.

In the words of APG director Faith Hooks, do you want to know where more than $700 million in property and sales taxes went last year? Now you can.

“It really came out of us wanting to provide education for the community that once we received ourselves, we found understanding your taxes is not such a hard thing. It can be done,” she said.

The group has researched and created a sort of one-stop-shop for people to find out how much was collected and how it was allocated.

“By default, when you go into the dashboard it will automatically show the latest year, go to the study so we’ve done that on purpose. It’s automatically showing 2022,” said Hooks.

The study draws from five different public offices to provide one online portal for taxpayers to access.

“It also gives people information on when the tax expires, when it’s set to renew, why the rate that they pay is what it is, all of that is in one easy-to-use portal,” Hooks said.

Hooks was a researcher who led the project, and she said they discovered things they didn’t know.

“In this parish, we have multiple taxing entities that are actually levying lower than what they are authorized to collect which saves taxpayers money and is at least an indication that people are regularly reviewing these taxes to show what do we need versus what are we authorized to collect,” said Hooks.

If the tax base grows, an entity’s revenue grows too, but public bodies are not allowed to automatically receive a windfall.

They must hold a public hearing. Otherwise, they must roll back the tax, so they don’t collect more than the year before.

Hooks said feedback has been positive so far.

“The APG has sponsored it as of right now, so we did a two-year snapshot. We pulled in the 2021 and 2022 taxes. In order for us to decide if this is a project, we want to continue with for future tax years, we‘ve also put a public poll on the APG website,” she said.

She said the project supports their mission of promoting strong, beneficial growth in the community.

The interactive report can be found on APG’s website HERE.