CATS $16 million property tax repeal gaining steam
BATON ROUGE - People are demanding a repeal of the tax that funds the public transit system in the wake of recent controversies
"Instead of making Baton Rouge look like the next great city, it's making clear that there are some very corrupt people," conservative activist Woody Jenkins said.
Jenkins is questioning missing money and employee joyrides at the Capital Area Transit System. Recently, $101,860 was reported missing from fare box collections. A former board member is also accused of using system money to pay personal bills. There is also a concern about losing a federal grant since employees broke Federal Transportation Administration rules by taking CATS vehicles to a New Orleans Hornets basketball game.
CATS is set to get nearly $16 million in property tax revenue this year.
"Repeal the CATS tax to phase out the CATS board and to privatize transportation in Baton Rouge. I think that will work so much better," Jenkins said.
"Mistrust in the CATS system is extremely high," Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso said. He also wants the tax repealed and said he wanted to repeal the tax when he took office.
"The only group that can repeal the tax is the CATS board, and I would ask that they consider that," Amoroso said.
"I would not be in favor of repeal," newly appointed CATS board president Marston Fowler said.
The likelihood of the board repealing the tax is doubtful, he added.
The tax could be repealed if a lawsuit filed against the tax is held up in court.
"There hasn't been a ruling either way. It's just pending," Fowler said. "I do understand the public's frustration and disappointment with where we are today but I feel very confident in where we are going and where we will be in two to three months."
Fowler thinks the lawsuit is most likely headed to trial. No court date has been set at this time.