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How Shreveport’s Property Taxes Got So High

Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau/Flickr

It is no secret that Shreveport property owners pay the highest property taxes in Louisiana.  But how does this get fixed… and how did we even get here to start?

There are several issues here in Shreveport.

“One of the main things here is that people don’t know how high the property taxes are in Shreveport,” explained political expert Eliot Stonecipher.  “It got so high here because public officials kept raising it, we kept voting yes, without ever knowing we were paying.  For example, twice as much as residents in Baton Rouge.”

There are several factors, but the big ones are Shreveport’s low density, high quantity of residents who don’t pay property taxes, and the Caddo Parish School Board.

Shreveport annexed large pieces of land several decades ago in an attempt, according to Stonecipher, to show the city was growing.  However, many of these tracts were and still are low density and cost the city a lot of money to provide services to.

“Had Shreveport’s population grown, we would have simply been paying that off that investment in the basic services with an expanding tax base.  We don’t have an expanding tax base, we have a contracting tax base.”

According to Stonecipher, Shreveport has 4,000 fewer people than it did in the 1980 census, despite cities the size of Shreveport have grown since then.

“What should have happened and what happens elsewhere, is that you should be able to fix the services even if you did reach way out for them,” stated Stonecipher.  “Grow the city.”

It really all comes down to simple economics.

“Our problem is this: we kept the same cost, but with fewer people.  So per taxpayer, taxes keep going up.”

Next week, we bring you a series on the multiple reasons why Shreveport property taxes remain the highest, how we got here, and who is responsible for it.

Next: Who Is Raising The Taxes?

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