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BGR In The News

BGR Releases ‘Paying For Streets: Options For Funding Road Maintenance In New Orleans’

May 10, 2017

As BGR has pointed out in past reports, underfunding maintenance of the street network leads to far higher costs in the long run. The city itself estimates that every dollar invested in preventive maintenance can save four or five dollars in repair costs down the road. But the city has been spending far less than the $30 million to $35 million it says it needs to maintain streets.

Source: Biz New Orleans

New Orleans spends a fraction of what it needs to on street maintenance, group says

May 9, 2017

BGR continues to advocate, as it has for years, that the city redirect funds to street maintenance needs from sources such as traffic camera tickets, parking tickets, parking meters, parking taxes and vehicle sales taxes. The report stated these revenue sources will generate $52.2 million this year, which is more than five times the $9.5 million that New Orleans budgeted for streets in 2017.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Why did New Orleans property owners just get another tax bill?

Apr 29, 2017

The drainage renewal involves 4.46 mills of property tax for New Orleans’ drainage system. This millage provides 28 percent of the revenue the Sewerage and Water Board uses for system upkeep, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New River Ridge-area fire millage, parishwide library tax renewal on Saturday ballot

Apr 27, 2017

BGR reported the system has kept its growth in operating costs “at a modest 3.1 percent” a year and has avoided borrowing for its capital improvements, with $38 million available in that fund.

Source: The Advocate

Amid strong opposition from city employees, Stacy Head pulls plan to reform pension system

Apr 27, 2017

The heavy criticism was a blow for Head, whose years of efforts to revamp the pension system resulted in a reform plan that included some recommendations from the pension system’s board, some from the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research and some from her own research.

Source: The Advocate

Lawmaker proposes redirecting some Convention Center taxes to New Orleans roads

Apr 23, 2017

The debate over the Convention Center’s funding has been going on for years, with critics — including the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research — questioning whether some of the tax money dedicated to it could be better spent on roads, public safety or other priorities.

Source: The Advocate

Stacy Head: Why we need municipal employee pension reform now

Apr 20, 2017

The reforms I am proposing are based on years of research and comparisons with other governments and recommendations by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Many old issues re-emerge as New Orleans prepares for upcoming legislative session

Apr 7, 2017

Abramson’s approach is a slice of a larger set of recommendations issued by the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research in 2011 and revived in a letter to lawmakers earlier this year that called for trimming back on the state’s generous nonprofit exemptions, which go beyond most other states in allowing private organizations and other groups that don’t have clearly defined public benefits to avoid paying taxes.

Source: The Advocate

What kind of ‘change’ agendas might New Orleans mayoral candidates tout?

Apr 3, 2017

Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research last week, Landrieu didn’t say who he hoped would run to replace him. But he did make it perfectly clear what he hoped that person would say and do.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans would get larger share of taxes on short-term rentals under bill filed this week

Mar 30, 2017

BGR has called for a comprehensive reassessment of the local tax structure in New Orleans with an eye toward rededicating taxes to address the community’s most pressing needs,” BGR President and CEO Amy Glovinsky said in an email. “A key piece of that review is to examine the use of hotel taxes. To the extent House Bill 224 seeks to rationally align hotel tax revenue with underfunded critical needs, it may be a step in the right direction.”

Source: The Advocate

Should non-profits start paying taxes on their property?

Mar 9, 2017

60% of Louisiana property taxes were not taxed! This hours guest: Amy Glovinsky – President/CEO BGR (Bureau of Governmental Research)

Source: WWL Radio

Councilwoman Stacy Head proposes money-saving changes to city retirement system

Mar 7, 2017

Head’s proposal, which draws from some of the recommendations in a report by the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research last year, has the support of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region.

Source: The Advocate

Peter Reichard shares the Bureau of Governmental Research’s new study calling for a drainage fee

Mar 6, 2017

Federal money will pay to further improve canals and pumping stations. But the city has to contribute a percentage, and it has to pay for upkeep. The nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research has released a new study calling for a fee on stormwater drainage to fill that gap.

Source: WWNO

BGR report proposes using fees, not taxes, to fund New Orleans’ drainage system

Feb 14, 2017

The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board should consider levying usage fees to pay for the upkeep of its drainage system rather than relying on the property taxes that now fund the system, according to a new report from the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Here’s how Convention Center can help fund New Orleans public safety plan

Feb 11, 2017

But that raises questions about whether the city should be able to determine its own priorities, or whether it should rely on the largess of another entity. “It does strike one as an unusual power dynamic that speaks to the need to revisit that structure,” Amy Glovinsky, president and CEO of BGR, a nonpartisan research group, said last week.

Source: The Advocate

Why will New Orleans property owners get another tax bill this year?

Feb 1, 2017

This millage provides 28 percent of the revenue the Sewerage and Water Board uses for system upkeep, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Major expansion of surveillance cameras in French Quarter, 20 hot spots

Jan 23, 2017

The city will be picking up about $16 million of the cost of the plan, with the rest being born by the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The convention center is a state entity with its own taxing power that has come under criticism from the non-partisan Bureau of Governmental Research for maintaining a $200 million reserve, which the group has argued could go toward other more urgent needs in the city.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: Support Orleans, Jeff taxes

Dec 10, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that studies public policy issues in the New Orleans area, has endorsed all of the taxes.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans Voters to Decide Millages, Criminal Court Judge Post

Dec 9, 2016

And – with Proposition 2 — voters are deciding on establishing a 12-year tax dedicated to the fire department. Funds would settle a dispute that’s gone on for decades over back pay. Officials say it’ll cost the average homeowner about $50 a year. The non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research is recommending both propositions be approved.

Source: WWNO

Jefferson Parish 1-cent sales tax in voters’ hands Saturday

Dec 8, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson would have to “scale back” its capital investment plans, effectively delaying many of the projects.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish recreation tax up for voters’ decision Saturday

Dec 7, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson “would force widespread closures” of several parks and playgrounds.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish tax renewal for drainage on Dec. 10 ballot

Dec 5, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson would have to make “severe cuts” in other services to maintain drainage at current levels.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans makes final pitch for drainage-tax renewal before election

Dec 2, 2016

Becker noted, they join endorsements from the Bureau of Governmental Research as well as the Times-Picayune, The Advocate and Gambit newspapers.

Source: Uptown Messenger

Early voting begins Saturday for December election

Nov 25, 2016

The city says the tax would yield an estimated $8.9 million a year to help pay settlement costs for the tens of millions of dollars in legal judgments it owes to firefighters and their pension fund. The Bureau of Governmental Research has endorsed the tax proposal.

Source: WWL-TV

New Orleans voters to decide on drainage tax renewal Dec. 10

Nov 25, 2016

The BGR report noted that the money the S&WB brings in for drainage work is largely consumed by operational costs and paying back loans. As a result, about $50 million worth of work had to be deferred in 2016 because not enough money was available.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans voters consider fire, drainage taxes on Dec. 10 ballot

Nov 25, 2016

Without a new revenue source — in addition to the millage up for renewal — New Orleans’ deferred drainage work could exceed $270 million by 2020, BGR says.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

‘Yes’ on Jefferson Parish sales, drainage and recreation tax renewals: Editorial

Nov 23, 2016

Renewing the tax now would allow the parish to refinance existing sales tax bonds and finance new road and sewer construction projects, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

‘Yes’ on firefighter and drainage taxes for New Orleans: Editorial

Nov 20, 2016

The Sewerage & Water Board already lacks money for its capital improvement program, and the agency soon will be on the hook for additional expenses, according to BGR.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Bureau of Governmental Research Backs Millage/Tax Renewals on December Ballot

Nov 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) throws its support behind millages and a 1% sales tax renewal on the December 10th ballot. At that time voters will decide whether to renew a millage for Drainage and Recreation, also renewals for a 1% Sales Tax and a Jefferson Parish School Property Tax.

Source: Jefferson Parish

4 Jefferson Parish tax renewals backed by independent non-profit

Nov 17, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research called the sales tax a “core funding source” for local government for more than three decades. “Renewal of the sales tax would enable the parish to finance much-needed road and sewerage improvements on both sides of the Mississippi River,” the agency said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR backs both New Orleans property tax items on Dec. 10 ballot

Nov 16, 2016

Absent any additional revenue sources, BGR says keeping the drainage property tax in place is advantageous because it is established and voters understand the assessment and collection process.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Watchdog group endorses New Orleans fire and drainage taxes on December ballot

Nov 15, 2016

A leading government watchdog group is supporting two property tax measures on the Dec. 10 ballot in New Orleans, a new tax designed to pay for a settlement between the city and firefighters and a tax renewal to pay for drainage. The nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research gave both taxes the thumbs up in a report issued Tuesday.

Source: The Advocate

Zurik: From City Hall down, convention center money leaves NOLA residents frustrated

Nov 14, 2016

BGR raised “The $1 Billion Question” in its so-titled report on whether tax dedications in New Orleans make sense. The report showed tens of millions of tax dollars generated in New Orleans by the tourism industry, but none of it going to fix streets or pay for police.

Source: FOX 8

Zurik: Convention Center cash piles up as attendance numbers fall flat

Nov 3, 2016

“Right now the dollars that the city is able to dedicate to streets is much less than what’s going to the Convention Center,” says Amy Glovinsky, president of the private nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: FOX 8

BGR urges changes to New Orleans area public pension plans to control costs

Oct 20, 2016

In New Orleans, which is hampered by the outsized tab to cover its struggling firefighters’ retirement plan, the city will spend nearly $106 million on pension costs in 2016, the report said, which eats up 16 cents of every $1 in the city’s general fund.

Source: The Advocate

More state budget cuts inevitable in 2017, Dardenne says

Sep 22, 2016

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Bureau of Governmental Research today that the state will have no choice but to make additional cuts to departments and agencies of state government starting in January 2017 to balance the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Source: Uptown Messenger

Jefferson hotels to begin charging an extra 1 percent to help boost tourism

Aug 11, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a local nonpartisan think tank, opposed the self-assessment by New Orleans hotels, saying such surcharges diminish the ability of governments to propose their own taxes to generate revenue.

Source: The Advocate

The $165 million question: How best to invest New Orleans’ tourism tax revenue?

Aug 3, 2016

The BGR study estimated that the hotel taxes generated $165.9 million in 2015. After accounting for all the pass-throughs and levels of distributions, the watchdog group estimated that about $126.8 million — 76 percent — went to tourism-related entities. The remaining 24 percent went to public services such as city government, transportation and education.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Taxing authority for New Orleans convention district rolling in Legislature

May 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research report on House Bill 1056 stopped short of condemning the project outright, but it did question the wisdom of granting the Convention Center new taxing authority.
The various taxes that support the Convention Center generated about $60 million in 2015. The Convention Center’s reserves now top $222 million, even as the city struggles to pave streets and recruit police officers, the BGR report notes.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR criticizes bill to allow Morial Convention Center to levy taxes in nearby area

May 11, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research said the measure would exacerbate a fractured taxing system in New Orleans that already does too much to constrain how local officials can spend tax dollars.

Source: The Advocate

BGR pans Morial Convention Center taxing power

May 11, 2016

The watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research is repeating its refrain against approving new taxes in New Orleans without a thorough evaluation of dedications already in place.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Let New Orleanians decide on nonprofit tax exemptions: A letter to the editor

Apr 12, 2016

Although it appears that there is now a growing consensus among good government groups such as the Bureau of Governmental Research, the media and some local politicians (see the Tax Fairness Commission report of 2011 by Mayor Mitch Landrieu), there has been no action.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: Vote for tax plan in Saturday’s city election

Apr 9, 2016

We share some of the reservations of the Bureau of Governmental Research, www.bgr.org, about long-term bond issues for street repairs that might last, at best, for the length of the bond payments. Still, BGR is for the bond issue because of the “abysmal” condition of New Orleans streets.

Source: The Advocate

Next steps after New Orleans voters reject tax increase for police expansion, firefighters?

Apr 9, 2016

Residents throughout the city were skeptical of providing more funding to the NOPD, even as groups such as the Bureau of Governmental Research, the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region and public employee unions came out in favor of the plan.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans street repair pledge leads voters to back $120 million bond sale

Apr 9, 2016

The nonprofit watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research, which previously raised questions about the city’s overall tax structure, endorsed the bond issue but raised concerns the city’s 30-year debt service plan.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

To Pay First Responders, New Orleans Heads To Polls

Apr 8, 2016

This Saturday New Orleanians will have a chance to vote on new taxes intended to improve public safety and settle long-standing debts to the fire department. The nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report on the vote, saying the increases are needed, lest other programs be cut.

Source: WWNO

Our Views: Vote for tax plan in Saturday’s city election

Apr 8, 2016

We share some of the reservations of the Bureau of Governmental Research, www.bgr.org, about long-term bond issues for street repairs that might last, at best, for the length of the bond payments.

Source: The Advocate

Separate questions deserve a separate vote

Apr 4, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research notes that putting the two taxes together “may complicate the decision-making process.”

Source: Mid-City Messenger

City seeks more taxes on April 9

Apr 4, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which had opposed the 2015 new library tax and other millage increases in recent years, endorsed the 7.5 mills for police and fire.

Source: Louisiana Weekly

Taxes vs. Tulane scholarships: Towards a more equitable way to deal with exemptions

Apr 4, 2016

As reported by the Bureau of Governmental Research in 2011, over 4,900 parcels were owed by non-profit organizations and exempt from paying property taxes.

Source: The Lens

Editorial: It takes a millage

Mar 28, 2016

“Approval of the tax would represent a major commitment by taxpayers to give the troubled Police Department the resources necessary to rebuild its ranks, reduce response times and provide better public safety outcomes,” the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) wrote in its endorsement of the millage. The BGR cautioned, however, that the City Council would have to play watchdog to make sure benchmarks are met. We agree.

Source: Gambit

Tax increase could end decades of disputes over New Orleans firefighters’ pay, pensions

Mar 26, 2016

In addition to Landrieu and the firefighters, the millage increases have been endorsed by other labor unions, the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research and two high-profile business groups, Greater New Orleans Inc. and the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans public employee unions back proposed tax hike for police, fire

Mar 23, 2016

The property tax increase has also received the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Bureau of Governmental Research, Greater New Orleans Inc. and the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. So far, no organized opposition to the measure has emerged.

Source: The Advocate

Business groups endorse proposed tax hike for public safety in New Orleans

Mar 22, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police also have endorsed the millage hike. So far, no organized opposition to the measure has emerged.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: We support New Orleans fire, police tax

Mar 20, 2016

But the Bureau of Governmental Research, which is backing the proposition, notes that there is little research supporting the notion that 1,600 is the ideal size.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: New bonds for streets

Mar 20, 2016

A guide to the upsides and downsides of the bond issue, seemingly “free” money, is available from the indispensable work of the Bureau of Governmental Research. Despite some reservations, BGR is for the bond issue because of the “abysmal” condition of New Orleans streets.

Source: The Advocate

‘Yes’ for more money for New Orleans police, firefighters and streets: Editorial

Mar 20, 2016

According to the Bureau of Governmental Research, which is supporting the increase, the owner of a $350,000 home would pay an additional $262.50 in taxes each year. That is less than $22 per month.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Government watchdog endorses $120M bond proposal, 7.5 mill public safety tax hike

Mar 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research this week endorsed a pair of ballot initiatives that would permit the city to issue $120 million in bonds and raise property taxes dedicated to public safety by a combined 7.5 mills, generating about $26.6 million annually.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Two April 9th Tax Proposals Deserve Public Support

Mar 17, 2016

Even the generally tax-averse Bureau of Governmental Research called the streets and capital improvements proposal a “more holistic approach.”

Source: Uptown Messenger

Proposed tax hike in New Orleans for police, fire departments would be ‘major commitment’

Mar 16, 2016

“The City Council and administration must hold the NOPD accountable for achieving its goals and carefully calibrate funding to the department’s true needs,” the report says. “The goals should include increasing the number of officers assigned to calls for service.”

Source: The Advocate

BGR supports April 9 tax vote for N.O. police, fire, street repairs

Mar 16, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research has come out in support of two tax proposals on the April 9 ballot in New Orleans, one to increase funding for police and firefighters, the other to pay for street repairs and other improvements.

Source: WWL-TV

Louisiana needs tighter rules regarding nonprofit property-tax exemptions: An editorial

Mar 6, 2016

In Orleans Parish, according to a 2011 BGR report, the value of property that’s not on the tax rolls exceeds the value of property that is.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

James Gill: Not best time for New Orleans to seek state help

Mar 5, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research calculated that, if nonprofits were required to pay taxes, the city would be better off to the tune of $125 million a year.

Source: The Advocate

Amid budget crisis in Louisiana, group urges lawmakers to rein in local tax breaks for nonprofits

Mar 2, 2016

The Legislature should move to tighten rules in the state constitution that exempt property owned by nonprofit organizations from taxes as a way to offset the impact of the ongoing budget crisis on local governments, the Bureau of Governmental Research recommended in a report released Wednesday.

Source: The Advocate

City officials eyeing new and extended taxes to pay for streets, drainage work

Jan 19, 2016

Bureau of Governmental Research President Celeste Coco-Ewing urged members of the task force to review a report the nonpartisan think tank released in November detailing how the use of dedicated funding streams means that while some areas of local government are scrambling, certain well-funded efforts such as the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center are flush.

Source: The Advocate

Fix My Streets group gets crash course in city finance; new taxes under consideration

Jan 19, 2016

Celeste Coco Ewing, president and CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research, recommended working group members evaluate the nonprofit watchdog’s most recent report on city tax dedications. While stopping short of suggesting how the city spends its tax revenue, the report from November examines how scarce resources in some areas of city government are offset with flush coffers in others.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Fix My Streets committee hears litany of complaints from citizens

Jan 19, 2016

“We found out that there was about a billion dollars of local tax revenue,” said the Bureau of Governmental Research’s Celeste Coco-Ewing. “Of that, about three percent of that local tax revenue goes to roads.”

Source: WWL-TV

With tax revenues all tied up, can New Orleans meet its needs?: Celeste Coco-Ewing

Dec 11, 2015

Policymakers also owe it to the public to find a way to deploy existing tax revenues optimally and should simultaneously take steps toward that goal.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Mayor Landrieu appoints task force to identify New Orleans’ infrastructure needs

Dec 7, 2015

A recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) noted that local taxpayers ante up more than $1 billion a year, but only about a quarter of that goes toward general city services. The rest is dedicated to a wide array of services and entities, some of which have huge cash reserves.

Source: Gambit

DuBos: City should consider un-dedicating some taxes

Dec 1, 2015

Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants a special task force to find ways to pay for better streets. That task force should read a recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research. BGR noted that local taxpayers pony up more than a billion dollars a year, but only about a quarter of that goes toward general city purposes. The rest has been dedicated, much of it in piecemeal fashion over the years.

Source: WWL-TV

Mitch Landrieu appoints group to fix New Orleans streets

Nov 30, 2015

From past research and reports from groups like the Bureau of Governmental Research, the City estimates that an additional $9.3 billion is needed over the next 20 to 30 years to completely reconstruct the City’s streets and subsurface infrastructure, as well as to maintain streets in fair or better condition.

Source: WGNO

Slimming down New Orleans’ court system will require more judicial study, legislative will

Nov 19, 2015

“There could be some real savings for any one judgeship that’s eliminated,” Coco-Ewing said. “So the real call of the report was for the Supreme Court and the Judicial Council to come up with some recommendations, to do that kind of necessary digging down to find out the appropriate size of these courts.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

A $1 billion puzzler: Are New Orleans’ taxing priorities ripe for revamp?

Nov 10, 2015

In a new report, the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research used the stalled convention center expansion, along with several examples, to call for a full-scale appraisal of just where every tax dollar in New Orleans ends up and a setting of new priorities in a city of fatted calves and long-neglected corners.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR: Taxes in New Orleans may not be funding city’s priorities

Nov 10, 2015

Rather than bolstering public safety or fixing the city’s streets, much of the tax money that New Orleans collects is going to agencies devoted to promoting tourism, according to a new report from the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research that raises questions about whether dedicated taxes are funding services that are out of step with the priorities of residents.

Source: The Advocate

Where do New Orleanians’ tax dollars go? New report says maybe not toward top priorities

Nov 10, 2015

The most stark example in BGR’s report is the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, a state agency that is funded in part by such a dedicated tax and that the report says has built up a “startling” surplus of $200 million, five times the center’s annual operating budget of $40.2 million.

Source: The Advocate

French Quarter sales tax increase to fund State Police contingent wins handily

Oct 24, 2015

Citing city figures, the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research said the city assured it that the NOPD would stick to a baseline of 10 to 15 on-duty NOPD cops assigned to each of three daily patrol shifts.

Source: The Advocate

Elections Saturday: What’s on the ballot

Oct 23, 2015

In the French Quarter, voters will consider a quarter-cent sales tax proposal that would fund extra security for the French Quarter, namely an extended State Police presence. The Bureau of Governmental Research has analyzed the proposal and endorsed it.

Source: WWL-TV

New Orleans library asking public where to invest money following millage approval

Oct 13, 2015

The absence of a strategic plan in May led the Bureau of Governmental Research, a watchdog group, to urge voters to reject a 2.5 mill increase in the library’s property tax.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish just received $200 million; what happens now?

Oct 1, 2015

Some observers, including the Bureau of Governmental Research, said the proposition was too restrictive. It ultimately failed at the polls, receiving only 47 percent of the vote.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Effective management and saving money are key if New Orleans is continue with its strong budgets

Jul 16, 2015

A BGR research study last year described in fuller detail the mayor’s battles with the long-troubled Firefighters’ Pension and Relief Funds. “Poor investments, market misfortunes, an ill-advised financing scheme, underfunding, judgments and excessive generosity have combined to create a crushing burden,” BGR said.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans hotel tax revenue soars, raising collection questions

Jun 15, 2015

In a May 2013 report, the Bureau of Governmental Research was critical of the assessment, arguing such special taxes cut into the city’s tax capacity without considering pressing needs such as sewer and water system upgrades.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: $60,000 for Sewerage and Water Board director Cedric Grant’s office ‘a tone-deaf expense’

Jun 12, 2015

“The Sewerage & Water Board’s recently approved rate increases will cover only a fraction of the estimated $3.2 billion cost of overhauling the leaky water distribution network,” the Bureau of Governmental Research reported late last year.

Source: The Advocate

Owe late fees or fines to New Orleans? You’re in luck

Jun 11, 2015

The original bill would have allowed the mayor to erase principle debt on fines and fees, too. The government watchdog, Bureau of Governmental Research, had advised the administration that this could encourage those who owed money to simply stall on paying until the mayor called for an amnesty period.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

‘Yes’ to New Orleans school maintenance tax proposition: Editorial

Nov 15, 2014

The revenues for maintenance would be modest at first but would rise to an estimated $14.8 million per year after the bonds are paid off in 2021, according to an analysis by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR recognizes Mike Teachworth’s effort to eliminate Crescent City Connection tolls

Oct 23, 2014

“The honorees have distinguished themselves by their outstanding performance and creative problem-solving to greatly improve government for the citizens of the Greater New Orleans area,” J. Kelly Duncan, BGR board chairman, said in a news release.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans tax proposal to fund jail backed by Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Oct 8, 2014

BGR President Janet Howard said her group supports the ballot measure because it avoids raising taxes or cutting deeper into the city’s budget. “It’s one of the least painful options out there,” she said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

N.O. sheriff, mayor both support plan to shift money for courtroom fix

Oct 6, 2014

The tax would generate about $5 million in its first year, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research, which supports the measure.

Source: The Advocate

Non-profit-owned property could generate much-needed tax revenue

Jul 23, 2014

“The only restriction is that it can’t be used for unrelated commercial purpose, but that means somebody can hold property for an investment, they can hold it and not redevelop it, which creates its own set of blight problems,” said BGR President and CEO Janet Howard

Source: FOX 8

Audit report: N.O. Traffic Court $1.1 million in the red

Jun 26, 2014

“We have taken the position that the traffic and municipal courts should be consolidated to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost, and that the number of judges should be adjusted,” said Janet Howard, president of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans Mayor Landrieu: No firefighter pension reform, no Fire Department tax money

Jun 25, 2014

“The firefighters’ public pension system, the way it is currently constructed, is unsustainable,” Landrieu said. “It doesn’t make any sense and it needs to be changed.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Mayor Landrieu blasts Louisiana’s tax laws, calls for New Orleans to get bigger cut

Jun 25, 2014

Answering an annual invitation to address supporters of the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research, Landrieu used the city’s tense relationship with Baton Rouge to frame what he described as a fiscal crisis waiting just beyond the next hill.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Owen Courreges: Mayor Landrieu should tax more properties, instead of taxing us more

Jun 23, 2014

Have you ever wondered exactly what percentage of property value is actually generating property taxes? The Bureau of Governmental Research asked that question in 1996 and found that roughly two-thirds of property value in New Orleans was off the tax rolls entirely.

Source: Uptown Messenger

Mayor Landrieu to make case for tax hike, and other New Orleans-area political news

Jun 23, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research has invited the mayor for one of its regular “breakfast briefings,” billing the event as a chance to hear the “administration’s plans for meeting the city’s looming financial obligations.”

Source: The Advocate

What’s on the Jefferson Parish ballot on May 3?

Apr 23, 2014

The Bureau of Governmental Research said at the time that the propositions would create “a more equitable distribution of the tax burden for the criminal justice system” by including municipalities in the burden of supporting the criminal justice system.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans tightens financial controls post-Nagin

Feb 13, 2014

But according to the BGR, there is more the city can do to tighten up the procurement process and safeguard public tax dollars. “You could take a look at extending civil service to the head of the procurement office,” said Janet Howard, BGR president. “That would be one to look at. You could look again at the composition of the selection committee.”

Source: WWL-TV

Independent auditor expresses confidence in Orleans Parish School Board finances

Jan 16, 2014

DeLarge alluded to criticism of the School Board’s financial management, which included a Bureau of Governmental Research report. He said staff were making changes from earlier processes to align with how they actually do business.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans schools get $7.8 million in belated tax revenue

Dec 24, 2013

Despite improvement in the system’s financial status since Hurricane Katrina, a Bureau of Governmental Research report this spring questioned how good a job the Orleans Parish School Board was doing managing the tax dollars that go to state-authorized schools.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Angela Hill: Should non-profits lose tax exempt status?

Dec 18, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research did a study on non-profits and the impact of their tax-exempt status. Their insights are eye-opening and sometimes jaw-dropping.

Source: WWL Radio

N.O. Juvenile Court judges, coroner tell council they need more money

Nov 12, 2013

It has six judges, but a 2010 caseload analysis by the state Supreme Court found that the city has an overall abundance of judges, and that Juvenile Court is the most bloated of all: One juvenile judge is all the city needs, the study found. That finding was echoed by a report this fall by the Bureau of Governmental Research, which also put the proper number of juvenile judges at one.

Source: The Advocate

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