BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell says the 10.6-mill parish bus tax approved by voters in Baton Rouge and Baker last month qualifies for homestead exemption. That's contrary to CATS officials' earlier claims that it was ineligible.

The homestead exemption shields homeowners from being taxed on the first $75,000 of their assessed property value.

The Advocate reports the application of homestead exemption means property owners will be paying less on their property tax bills than was originally stated when the Capital Area Transit System was campaigning for the bus tax. It also means CATS will be shorted about $3 million in annual tax revenue for service improvements.

Caldwell issued the opinion Wednesday, in response to a query by state Rep. Alfred Williams.