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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

WASHINGTON, La. -- Washington Parish leaders are hoping citizens will help bail the parish out of its budget troubles by asking voters to increase sales taxes.

But there's a bump in that particular road to financial relief.

The parish needs to fill a gap of more than a million dollars a year to provide state-required budget contributions to agencies like the sheriff's office, clerk of court's Office, district attorney's office and coroner's office.

'There hasn't been anything put in the general fund, in taxes, for probably the last 40 years, it's been a very, very long time,' said Washington Parish President Richard Thomas. 'Well things go up, every year.'

Thomas said the parish has cut costs or pulled from savings to make up the difference in the past, but now want to stop that cycle.

One way that's on the table is increasing sales taxes by a third of a penny to raise more than a million dollars annually.

'This is the last thing I would ever want to do is ask for a tax because I know my parish is poor,' said Thomas, 'This is hard for it to handle anything else.'

The problem with this plan now is that the sales taxes across this parish are disproportionate, ranging from 7.5 percent to 9.5 percent. State-mandated tax caps could prevent this increase from getting approval from the bond commission.

'We don't know if some of the municipalities can actually handle any more so that's something we're looking for now,' Thomas said.

The parish expects to hear back from the Bond Commission Friday. If the tax is approved to hit the ballot, voters will decide on Dec. 8.

If a back-up plan is needed, talks will likely start at Monday's council meeting.

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