This week, we are looking at the reasons why Shreveport's property taxes are the highest in the state, why that is the case, how we got here and how do we fix it.  Today, we look at who is in control of our property taxes.

We can blame the politicians all we want for sky-high property taxes, but political expert Elliott Stonecipher says it comes down to the voters.

"People in Shreveport are infamous for approving just about anything that gets put out there," explained political consultant Elliott Stonecipher.  He noted that it could be anything from a school budget to increased property taxes.

"We have a disproportionate number of people who do not pay property taxes."

Stonecipher explains that because most of these people who do not pay property taxes need economic assistance of some sort, they are often looking for more city services to assist them.

"A lot of the people who want the revenue from the tax don't pay property taxes.  Those who don't own the property raise the taxes for those who do."

Typically, these residents reside in homes they own that are assessed below the $75,000 homestead exemption, meaning they don't pay taxes.  Homeowners in properties valued over $75,000 and rental landlords pay property taxes as well as commercial and industrial properties.

"We have to shift the burden away from property taxes and toward other taxes that will expand the base," suggested Stoncipher.  He recommends, "a higher sales tax, 8.6% to 9%, that's how high we can go in Shreveport, but that shifts it to where more people are paying for it and then you cut property tax millages correspondingly."

Tomorrow, we will take a look at what role the Caddo Parish School Board is playing in Shreveport residents' property taxes.