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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Lafourche voters barely defeat school sales tax hike

Lafourche voters barely defeat school sales tax hike

By only 19 votes, Lafourche Parish voters rejected a one-cent sales tax increase Saturday that would have boosted school worker salaries.

The vote was 7,712 (50 percent) against to 7,693 (50 percent) in favor. About 26.4 percent of the parish’s 58,442 voters cast ballots on the tax proposal.

Proponents said the tax would help the parish’s teacher salaries compete with Terrebonne’s and other surrounding parishes. Opponents, including both parish Chambers of Commerce, said sales taxes are already too high in the parish and claimed the increase would hurt business.

But parish voters did approve a proposal that will allow the School Board to sell $80 million worth of bonds for school construction. The board will use a portion of property tax money it already collects to pay the debt over 20 years.

That vote was 9,454 (67 percent) for to 5,888 (38 percent) against. About 26.3 percent of the parish’s voters cast ballots on the measure.

In the Senate District 2 race, two Democrats will compete in a May 27 runoff for the seat that includes parts of northern Lafourche as well as Assumption. Warren Harang III of Donaldsonville and Ed Price of Gonzales emerged as the top finishers Saturday among 13 candidates.

Harang finished first Saturday with 3,985 votes (27 percent). Price finished second with 3,282 votes (22 percent).

About 20.5 percent of the district’s 72,872 voters cast ballots.

Senate District 2, created in 2011 as a majority-black voting district, had been represented by Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, since 2012. Brown resigned in February, rather than face expulsion by the Senate, after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges related to two incidents involving violence against women.