In The News › City seeks fairness in taxes

Dec 13, 2010

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Taxation & Assessments

City seeks fairness in taxes

Monday, December 13, 2010
By Scott Satchfield
WWLTV

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s new tax fairness commission is gearing up to study — and possibly overhaul — parts of the city’s tax system.

This, as city leaders — for the second time in as many weeks — voted to raise property taxes Saturday.

“We had to make the hard decision. We had to bite the bullet and nobody likes to do it,” said City Councilwoman At-Large Jackie Clarkson.

With Saturday’s passing vote, the total increase is now 7.74 mills.

While the council asks New Orleanians for more money, Landrieu’s commission aims to make sure the financial burden is distributed more evenly across the city.

“I think this reflects a sensitivity on his part to the fact that only about a third or slightly more than a third of the property owners in town pay property taxes,” said Eyewitness News Political Analyst Clancy DuBos.

DuBos says the panel will have to work quickly, though, in presenting recommendations by a preliminary deadline of March 20.

“They’re not gonna have time to start over from scratch. They’re gonna have to look at the studies that have already been done,” he said.

One group that has studied the topic is the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Janet Howard, who heads up BGR, applauds the creation of the commission.

“The tax structure in New Orleans is terribly flawed. It is a problem when it comes to providing adequate services and meeting our infrastructure needs,” Howard said. “We still have a problem with assessments being fair and equitable. That’s something that has to be straightened out and then you have the question of exemptions, and whether they’re too broad or they’re being too broadly interpreted, and how they impact the base.”

Last week, Landrieu said the kinds of tax systems that work, are those with sound revenue sources that are broad based and low.

“There has been some serious question about whether New Orleans, over the years, has gotten away from that — too many exemptions targetted in the wrong place, individuals tried to take advantage of exemptions that they’re not really entitled to,” Landrieu said.

They’re issues that will now go under the microscope — as the city looks to gets its tax system back on track.

Dec 13, 2010

Source: WWLTV

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Taxation & Assessments

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