JDN supports jail tax
Before addressing the “why”, let us be up front in saying Jennings Daily News supports the proposed half-cent sales tax for the operation and maintenance of a new jail for Jeff Davis Parish.
On a weekly basis, this newspaper sees many of the same local offenders who are being arrested time and time again. Why is this? It’s because — although law enforcement is doing its job by making arrests — there is no room to keep the felony offenders in jail. Too often, law enforcement has no choice but to do a juggling act — picking and choosing the best of the worst to be released from jail in order to put an offender who poses greater threat to the community behind bars. Because of this, law-abiding citizens, witnesses to crimes and in some cases, victims of a crime, are forced to see offenders back on the street within hours of an arrest.
Does this make you feel safe? It shouldn’t.
Let us pose this question. If you live a life of crime, wouldn’t Jeff Davis Parish be a great place to expand your career, especially knowing that you can “get back to business” within a short period of time?
With the condition of our current, antiquated jail, state officials and the fire marshal can at any time force the sheriff to cease operation of the facility. There is presently not enough space in our 64-bed jail to house local criminals. What would happen if we lost those 64 beds? The citizens of this parish must be proactive in what, in all honesty, is the best of times. It has never happened before — and probably never will again — that the state has given $10 million to build a jail. All we have to do is pay to operate and maintain it.
The approval of this tax is not going to financially benefit any agency or government body, nor will it pad anyone’s pocket. A financial boost could, however, come for Jeff Davis Parish because a tighter control of the criminal element is a key factor for economic development. Some have complained that sales tax in the parish is already too high. But think about this … if crime levels drop, more business would be enticed to come to our parish; more money would be spent, which would create a greater tax base; and in the long run, taxes paid by each individual could be reduced because more people are contributing to the revenue of parish and its municipalities.
If you feel the taxes you are presently paying are not being put to good use, do something about it. There is a time and place for that — in a voting booth — but not on May 3. Please don’t choose to vote against the tax necessary to operate and maintain a new jail.
We can all agree a new jail is a necessity. Now let’s agree to make that happen.
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