School Board: Senate bill ‘most detrimental’ legislation proposed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 13, 1998

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 13, 1998

LULING – Calling it the most detrimental piece of legislation ever proposed against St. Charles Parish, the St. Charles Parish School Boardadopted a resolution in opposition to Senate Bill 37 at its meeting Wednesday night.

Senate Bill 37, introduced by Sen. John Hainkel (R-New Orleans), calls fora constitutional amendment to provide for the levy of an ad valorem tax on nuclear electric generating facilities and to provide for the distribution of the proceeds to the state, to the host parish and to other authorities based on amounts of electricity sold at retail.

This is the third consecutive year the bill has been introduced in the Legislature. The bill would affect the Waterford III nuclear power plant inTaft and Entergy’s River Bend facility in West Feliciana Parish.

In the resolution against the bill, the board and administration said the bill seeks to single out one sector of one industry and tax it differently than any other industry in the state. The resolution pointed out that theparish has provided numerous governmental services to support the power plant and its employees since its inception, and that the parish taxing districts have been anticipating the revenue from the facility and have based their tax structure accordingly.

Furthermore, the resolution says it is the safety of the residents of St.

Charles Parish that is at risk with the facility and any benefits from it should stay in the parish.

Board member Michael Henderson said the effects of the bill could reach beyond the parish.

“I believe this kind of legislation is potentially detrimental to the state of Louisiana,” he said.

The board is asking for the support of Gov. Mike Foster, Lt. Gov. KathleenBlanco, the Police Jury Association of Louisiana, MetroVision, the Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans and the River Region, members of the Legislature and the Public Service Commission in defeating the bill.

“It is important for the public to know that we are ready to go to battle again for the third time,” St. Charles Parish School Superintendent RodneyLafon said. “If we tried to pass this type of legislation to take revenuefrom the Superdome, Mr. Hainkel would not be a happy camper.”The board asked government liaison Cookie Gomez about the status of the bill. Gomez replied that the bill has been introduced, but it has not gone tocommittee yet.

“Everybody is working as hard as they have the last two years and I feel we will be successful again,” Gomez said.

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