No Taxation Without Representation – CRW

By Dennis Coleman

How many times have we heard the slogan “No Taxation Without Representation” which originated in pre-United States of America? Countless, no doubt. In those years tea was looked upon as a necessity and when a tax was levied on that commodity with the ‘colonists’ having no voice back in England…well it led to the Boston Tea Party and to a revolution. It seems people have always sought representation when tax dollars are concerned.

So, if we fast forward about 200 years to the serenity of Natchitoches Parish it is truly difficult to imagine the citizens being taxed without representation, but they were. And they have been since. As some would remember, in 1982, under a fairly new Constitution our state legislature enacted a resolution to wit: “There is hereby created a body politic and corporate of the state of Louisiana which shall exist in perpetuity and be known as the Cane River Waterway District…” Further it was determined that the ‘district’ would be administered by a ”Commission” and funded by up to a 10 mill tax on all property in Natchitoches Parish for the purpose creating a “Navigable Waterway.”

With the stroke of a pen, the Red River oxbow impoundment had become the Cane River Waterway with not a single vote being cast by the citizens of Natchitoches Parish. All the citizens from Ajax to Flatwoods and Marthaville to Goldonna had themselves a ‘navigable waterway’ and would be required to fund same in “Perpetuity.”

I guess the best comparison for this is the story about the two farmers who operated adjoining farms. They both lived west of the ‘Big Muddy’ with Pierre’s farm joining the river and ol’ Joe’s place being on the other side of Pierre’s farther away from the river. The government being ‘fair and impartial’ taxed them both equally. As far as benefits…Pierre could use the river to irrigate his fields, use it for recreation and around Christmas people would come from miles around to see his nativity and spend money in his store while there. For his tax contribution, Joe could fish the Big Muddy. As I said, this is just a story.

In 1982 came the deregulation of natural gas and the end of the biggest Oil Boom in our nations history. Now, our state and parish operate in a more austere manner. It has become apparent to many that our priorities must be reevaluated, and taxes be reapportioned. After all, in these days of automobile transportation, does it not make more sense to adequately fund a navigable roadway than a navigable waterway?

11 thoughts on “No Taxation Without Representation – CRW

  1. It would be nice if people would put their full name on posts. But I will say that in my opinion, ALL taxes need to be revisited and also, a SALES TAX is the best to fair to ALL. EVERYONE pays. With a property tax, people who rent don’t pay unless the landlord increases the rent to cover an increase in property taxes.

  2. Like I have said in previous comments regarding taxation and Natchitoches Parish – what truly needs to happen is repeal all current taxing ordinances and applications and compose a single tax law that assesses taxes across the board by having all property owners pay their fair share based on property assessment values. This is the way most governmental jurisdictions in this country do it. All special exemptions will need to be eliminated and there be no exceptions as to who pays and who do not – EVERY NATCHITOCHES PARISH CITIZENS AND BUSINESSES PAYS. Industrial users would also be required to pay an additional amount based on their unique needs and use of roads. Funds collected through this method would thus go into a central account that would require budgeting and planning as to how monies will be prioritized, distributed and used to take care of the financial needs of Natchitoches Parish.

    Just saying “no to taxes” (signs are already starting to pop up) is not the answer as the citizens of this great community need the services and programs that only taxes can pay for (i.e. law enforcement; homeland security; fire protection; health services; superstructure upkeep, etc.). Taxation without representation is clearly an indication that we the people are not holding our elected officials accountable. First of all we need to elect individuals who have our back; thus citizens of Natchitoches Parish can no longer ignore elections and fail to get out and vote.

    The ballot box and speaking up is where it all has to begin.

    P.S. Please keep your negative thoughts to yourself. Thank you.

  3. I would like to know exactly how much they contributed to the downtown riverbank, and then whatever it was they need to do the same towards our delapidated roads. There are some who want to make this a retirement community but our roads and streets are ruining our cars and tires. If they can help with the downtown project then why not give money to help fix our streets because I am tired of paying taxes and not seeing anything done to improve the West side of Natchitoches streets like they are.

    • Because they can tax you without a vote, they had surplus money to give toward the riverbank. This allowed the city to say they built it without a tax increase. A short time later the waterway commission said their funds were below the threshold. They held a kangaroo meeting for the public and of course decided to levy a tax increase. No vote required.

  4. In my opinion, all taxes need to be revisited and prioritized. Some agencies receive more than they need and stockpile large amounts of money. Wonder how much the Red River Waterway Commission has? And River Waterway Commission? If I were a rural taxpayer and I had to pay a property tax for the Cane River Waterway, of which I get no benefit, I would be highly upset that the Cane River Waterway Commission contributed to the downtown riverbank project. If this is correct maybe the CRWC should assist these rural communities with their community centers, etc.

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