What changes to the parish budget and tax structure will you consider to stabilize finances, meet state mandated expenses and invest in parish infrastructure?

John Guilbeau
John Guilbeau
Candidate for Parish Council District 4

What we do have is the ability to levy special taxes in order to raise funds for particular projects and needs. If left with needs that are expressed by the citizens and they favor a sales tax that is dedicated to a specific project with a sunset, then I will get behind the citizens in their request (Example: the airport tax). However, until it is proven otherwise, I hold the position that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem; therefore, no new taxes. We shall devote our resources to things, parish infrastructure, that are valuable to the people — families first — the voice of the people must be heard.

It is clear that projects are becoming more complex. There is not a one-size-fits-all form of financing for them. It very much depends on the place, time and particulars of each project — we will need to be open and creative in our funding structure.

We shall develop a budget built on priorities and not needs alone that is accomplished through a needs assessment process!

The importance of a strong infrastructure is undeniable. It enables trade, powers businesses, connects workers to their jobs, creates opportunities for struggling communities — thus the need to invest in our infrastructure to provide for a thriving and prosperous community.

We must continue to grow and diversify our economy if we are truly committed to strengthening our parish infrastructure. A vibrant economy would do marvelous things to our revenue coffers!

In terms of state mandates, all state mandates shall be funded as required by statute as a priority.

Roddy Bergeron
Roddy Bergeron
Candidate for Parish Council District 4

As a realist, I feel that no options are off the table, though I do believe decisions should be well-informed and well-thought-out. Cuts, re-dedications, state/federal funding, and newly dedicated taxes are all ways to fix our budget. When you have homes flooding and roads deteriorating, it’d be unwise and simply impractical to say, “Sorry your house flooded, but I just don’t believe in [blank] to fix it.” Having that mindset causes stagnation, and real-world issues don’t get solved that way. The question should be, “What services do the people of Lafayette want (or don’t want)?” The people of Lafayette Parish need to be engaged in these discussions and given a seat at the table. Open forums, town hall meetings, and transparency with what is going on in government needs to be foremost. To reiterate, I believe in a tax-last approach for fixing budgetary issues, but I am open to considering all possible solutions that are the most effective, efficient, and fiscally realistic way to address the issues we face as a parish. The needs of the people come first, and I am up to the challenge of finding creative and conservative ways to meet those needs. Regarding state-mandated expenses, we should certainly fund those. If the legal experts indicate that we must pay those funds, then we will pay them. It would be unnecessary and wasteful to spend taxpayer funds on litigation that we can avoid, especially if we are legally bound to do so.