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BGR In The News

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

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

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

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

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

Sediment diversions, La. 1 bridge on Wednesday coastal authority agenda

Oct 20, 2015

“Reversing Louisiana’s land loss is the ultimate economic development project: It is essential to south Louisiana’s long-term viability,” BGR’s statement said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

The elevation work on Louisiana Highway 1 is needed, but not at the expense of coastal restoration

Oct 20, 2015

“If the CPRA board votes to redirect coastal restoration funds to the bridge project, it could undermine the CPRA’s widely praised master plan, which was approved just three years ago,” the Bureau of Governmental Research commented.

Source: The Advocate

Key vote expected Wednesday on proposal to use extra coastal restoration funding on La. 1

Oct 20, 2015

“In the context of a $50 billion master plan that is far from funded, the supposed surplus in coastal restoration funding is a mirage,” BGR said in a release.

Source: The Advocate

CONAWAY: A More Accessible and Transparent Judiciary Will Improve the Louisiana Legal Climate

Mar 19, 2015

More recently, the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research was denied a public records request to state courts for documents related to the work of a legislatively created committee that studied the efficiency of the Louisiana judiciary, but held only two public hearings in three years and ultimately recommended no changes.

Source: LaPolitics.com

The Rachel Maddow Show Discusses Gun Control Policy in Louisiana

Apr 11, 2013

Subsidies for Saints Owner Open New Orleans to Super Bowl

Jan 31, 2013

In the years before Katrina, the Saints were one of eight NFL teams to play in a building paid for entirely with public money, and one of two that had substantial revenue guarantees, according to a 2005 report by the Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit research group in New Orleans.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Our Views: CABL marks 50th birthday

Jan 13, 2013

In this season of New Year’s resolutions, we urge readers to consider a pledge for the 2013. In the coming months, resolve to get involved in groups such as CABL, the Council for a Better Louisiana, the New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research and other public policy groups in Louisiana.

Source: The Advocate

Jones Walker partner to lead BGR

Nov 19, 2012

J. Kelly Duncan has been elected chairman of the Bureau of Government Research, a nonprofit government watchdog organization based in New Orleans.

Source: The Associated Press

Our Views: Hopeful view for Washingto

Nov 18, 2012

As a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that studies public policy issues facing New Orleans, the Bureau of Governmental Research is a natural place for Republicans, Democrats and independents to join hands in the interest of the common good.

Source: The Advocate

Our View: Good ideas from road

Nov 16, 2012

At the annual meeting of the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker got a laugh when she recalled her “interview” with Jindal ­— a blizzard of commentary that she jokingly said left her only with the impression that “he is really smart.”

Source: The Advocate

What do we want? Pension reform. When do we want it? Now.—James Varney

Nov 10, 2012

A spate of reports looking at the issue statewide has drawn these conclusions, and they were buttressed again last week with a report by the Bureau of Governmental Research. The BGR looked at 18 public retirement plans in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. What it found is infuriating, if unsurprising.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Public pension funds in greater New Orleans more generous than most in US, BGR report says

Nov 9, 2012

Public pension funds in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes are more generous than in most of America, and costs to local taxpayers have been rising rapidly over the past decade, according to a study released Friday by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: Nola.com

Voters to face crowded ballot

Nov 5, 2012

The National Rifle Association-pushed change won overwhelming legislative support during the 2012 Legislature. Supporters, including the Republican Party of Louisiana, say the change would protect gun rights regardless of who in the future is appointed to high court positions or elected to the Legislature.

Opponents include Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, the Council for a Better Louisiana, based in Baton Rouge, and the Bureau of Governmental Research, in New Orleans. They claim that more than 80 laws could come under court challenge, including those stopping possession of guns by felons and banning possession of firearms in bars, at parades, on college campuses and the like.

Source: The Advocate

Election 2012: What’s on the ballot

Oct 31, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans looks at examines three of proposed constitutional amendments as well as two propositions that pertain to multiple parishes in the New Orleans area, a proposed change to the City of New Orleans charter and two local tax propositions.

Source: Nola.com

BGR President & CEO Discusses Items on the Nov. 6 Ballot

Oct 26, 2012

Source: WWL Radio

Election Recommendations

Oct 26, 2012

Too much toll money has been squandered over the years. The Bureau of Governmental Research reported in 2011 that only 19 cents of every dollar in tolls went to maintaining and policing the bridge.

Source: The Times-Picayune

DA Cannizzaro targets gun rights measure

Oct 25, 2012

‘‘It’s an attempt to expand gun rights beyond what’s guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and we can’t see any good reason to go there,” said Janet Howard of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: Fox 8

What’s on your ballot: early voting begins Tuesday across Louisiana

Oct 22, 2012

he non-partisan groups Council for a Better Louisiana, Public Affairs Research Council and Bureau of Governmental Research have analyzed and taken positions on several of the amendments and all three groups urge voters to study the amendments beforehand to minimize delays at the polls.

Source: WWL-TV

La. could have strongest gun rights

Oct 18, 2012

Opposing the proposed change are the Council for a Better Louisiana, based in Baton Rouge, and the Bureau of Governmental Research, in New Orleans.

Source: The Advocate

Two-line proposed amendment could have huge effect on gun control laws

Oct 18, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research opposes the amendment, calling it “alarming” and a public safety issue.

Source: WWL-TV

School vouchers make a comeback, stir concerns about quality

Aug 21, 2012

“The state needed to establish academic eligibility requirements [on] the front-end,” said Peter Reichard, projects manager at the Bureau of Governmental Research, an independent research organization in New Orleans. In a statement, BGR officials said, “Short of no accountability standards at all, it is difficult to imagine a lower standard of performance than what the proposed system offers.”

Source: NBC News

Spurred by voucher program, state officials may tighten rules on who can open private schools

Aug 14, 2012

Peter Reichard, projects manager at the Bureau of Governmental Research, argued that even with a more stringent approval process, private schools won’t be held to quite the same bar as public schools.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Crescent City Connection toll issue generates more questions at Jefferson Parish Council meeting

Aug 9, 2012

In April, the Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report that called for allowing the tolls to expire. Its president, Janet Howard, told the council Wednesday the nonprofit has given the issue a second look, yet there were questions transportation officials still could not answer.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Plan for holding private schools accountable in voucher program wins board approval

Jul 25, 2012

The independent Bureau of Governmental Research released a report Monday criticizing White’s plan as too soft, both for excluding schools with fewer than 40 voucher students from facing consequences and for setting such a low bar for those with 40 or more.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Accountability for Louisiana school vouchers: An editorial

Jun 18, 2012

During the legislative session, the Bureau of Governmental Research laid out the pitfalls of lax or no accountability. “Under the proposed program, a student could use a voucher to transfer from an average-quality public school to a low-quality private school with no track record or qualifications,” BGR said in a report released earlier in the legislative session.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Voters and Council want answers on CCC toll revenue

Jun 13, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which opposes the tolls, maintains the state has heavily misused toll revenue and describes talk of cuts to services as fear mongering used to convince voters to keep the revenue coming.

Source: WWL-TV

Jefferson Parish Council to launch ‘fact-finding mission’ on Crescent City Connection tolls

Jun 13, 2012

Toll supporters, including numerous business and civic groups, have said that without tolls, major cutbacks would be required to bring bridge services in line with what DOTD provides other bridges and roads across the state. But toll opponents, including the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research, have said toll revenue has been so badly misspent over the years that few, if any, cuts would be necessary if the state focused on providing core services.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Inspector General says state not serious about fighting corruption if office cut

May 16, 2012

“It’s the only office whose sole mission is to root out inefficiency and waste in government,” Janet Howard, the CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research, said.

Source: WWL-TV

Editorial: Inspector General’s office too valuable to eliminate

May 15, 2012

The Bureau of Government Research said the $1.7 million cost to run the IG’s office is a “drop in a $25 billion bucket.”

Source: The Lake Charles American Press

Plan to defund Louisiana inspector office incurs watchdog groups’ howls

May 9, 2012

Two public policy research groups this week condemned a move to eliminate the state investigator general’s office in advance of a Louisiana House vote on the state budget. The Public Affairs Research Council and the Bureau of Governmental Research blasted a measure by Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Houma, eliminating its financing from the state’s spending plan for next year.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Legislature needs to show leadership by eliminating Crescent City Connection tolls

May 8, 2012

While the audit didn’t find evidence of fraud, the waste is worrisome enough. Tolls have been used mainly for what the Bureau of Governmental Research has described as “far-flung’‘ services, including the three ferries. Only 19 cents of every toll dollar is actually used to maintain and police the Crescent City Connection.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Cuts force changes in mental health care

Apr 26, 2012

Cuts to mental-health services at Interim LSU Public Hospital were “a punch in the stomach,” but they have forced necessary conversations and better identification of high-risk patients, according to city health commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo. “The system has started to talk to each other in a way that’s more meaningful,” DeSalvo said Wednesday during a forum on the impact of the cuts hosted by the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Times-Picayune

An update on mental-health services in New Orleans

Apr 25, 2012

Two health experts will examine the city’s mental-health system at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Bipartisan push helped to pass education bills

Apr 22, 2012

Another nonpartisan watchdog group, The New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research was critical of some elements of the Jindal voucher plan but did not condemn the concept.

Source: The Associated Press

Louisiana’s education reform is a dramatic plan for schools and our children: An editorial

Apr 8, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research recently laid out the pitfalls of lax or no accountability. “Under the proposed program, a student could use a voucher to transfer from an average-quality public school to a low-quality private school with no track record or qualifications,” BGR said in a report released earlier in the legislative session.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Sunday Edition: Legislature focuses on education reform

Mar 18, 2012

Source: WWL-TV

Gov. Jindal’s education reforms need deliberation by legislators: An editorial

Mar 16, 2012

The Bureau of Governmental Research and Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans argue that there should be greater accountability for schools accepting vouchers. They are right. The legislation as drafted does not ensure the academic quality of private or parochial schools in the program and does not provide for a process to remove vouchers from schools that perform poorly.

Source: The Times-Picayune

First Votes Set On Voucher, Tenure Bills

Mar 14, 2012

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana and the New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research both said the proposal needs to beef up accountability standards for any private school taking the vouchers.

Source: WDSU

Watchdogs call for amending Jindal’s education plan

Mar 14, 2012

The high profile organizations calling for changes to Jindal’s plan included the Council for a Better Louisiana and The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, which said the bill appears to allow social promotion of public school students who transfer to private schools using the government vouchers. The New Orleans-based Bureau of Governmental Research had similar complaints.

Source: Fox 8

Report says Jindal’s voucher plan in need of work

Mar 14, 2012

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to expand statewide a school voucher program that was piloted in New Orleans in 2008 needs a number of revisions if it’s to be as successful as the governor says it will be. That’s according to a new study from the New Orleans-based research organization Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

Bobby Jindal school voucher plan worries watchdog group

Mar 14, 2012

BGR is recommending the program be limited to students already attending or heading into schools rated D or F. The group also calls for excluding private schools that can’t outperform the public schools from which they draw voucher students, arguing, “The state should establish appropriate academic eligibility standards and mandate the rigorous testing needed to determine whether a school meets them.”

Source: The Times-Picayune

Stuck in the toll lane at New Orleans Crescent City Connection: An editorial

Jan 18, 2012

Lawmakers also should consider the Bureau of Governmental Research report from last year, which pointed out the basic unfairness of the tolls that are now collected on east-bank-bound drivers.

Source: The Times-Picayune

New Year resolutions for one and for all: An editorial

Jan 1, 2012

We, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the Bureau of Governmental Research, Citizens for One Greater New Orleans, Women of the Storm, Levees.org and other citizen advocacy groups, promise to continue to hold government officials at all levels accountable for their actions.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Tax panel considers homestead exemption

Mar 22, 2011

As of Wednesday, the commission’s latest draft resolution recommends lawmakers “be reminded” of “the problems created” by the homestead exemption, which is highest in the nation, according to the commission. Echoing the Bureau of Governmental Research, the commission also criticizes lawmakers for shortchanging a revenue sharing fund meant to offset the exemption’s impact.

Source: CityBusiness

To Tax or Not To Tax Is Not The Question, But How?

Mar 17, 2011

NOLA.com reports that the Bureau of Governmental Research calculated for its study that “43 percent of the total assessed value of property in Orleans Parish is exempt from taxation, with nearly one-quarter of the exempt property escaping taxes because it is owned by nonprofit groups.”

Source: The Nonprofit Quarterly

City tax system changes suggested

Mar 17, 2011

About half of tax-exempt property in New Orleans is owned by the government, with the remainder split between property protected by state-authorized exemptions for homeowners and a broad range of nonprofits including universities, churches and cultural groups, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Report: Nonprofit tax exemption needs more focus

Mar 16, 2011

The constitutionally enshrined nonprofit tax exemption needs stricter focus and local jurisdiction, according to a new report by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: CityBusiness

Blanket tax breaks knocked

Mar 16, 2011

With Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Tax Fairness Commission continuing to examine New Orleans’ property and sales tax systems, a governmental research organization issued a report Tuesday urging major changes in the system of routinely awarding property tax exemptions to private schools and universities, churches, charities and other nonprofit organizations.

Source: The Times-Picayune

On Anniversary of Katrina, Signs of Healing

Aug 27, 2010

“That you would end up with a major blight problem was absolutely predictable,” said Janet R. Howard, executive director of the Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit advisory group here. “You come to a point where you have to get beyond the political question to the actual question.”

Source: The New York Times

Homestead break costs parishes

Jun 9, 2010

Under a little-known provision in the state Constitution, the state is supposed to reimburse parishes, cities and other local agencies for the money lost due to the exemption, but in 2009 the state provided only $90 million for that purpose — just 12.5 percent of the $716 million lost statewide because of the exemption, the Bureau of Governmental Research said in a report.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Policy group urges against changes to state open meetings law

May 20, 2010

The Bureau of Governmental Research is asking legislators to spike a proposal, sought by the New Orleans City Council, to carve new exceptions to the state open meetings law.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Rental programs facing questions

Dec 8, 2009

More than four years after Hurricane Katrina, the state’s troubled rental housing programs are finally bearing fruit, but recent market studies are making some leaders nervous about whether they should continue as they are.

Source: The Times-Picayune

EDITORIAL: Don’t make things worse

May 8, 2009

Louisiana’s $75,000 homestead exemption is already the nation’s most generous, but that hasn’t stopped some misguided lawmakers from trying to increase it.

Source: Times Picayune

OPINION: Higher exemption no real break

Apr 6, 2009

There are certain things you can count on in the spring in Louisiana — a lovely golden coat of pollen on your automobile, severe thunderstorms to wash it off and a funky smokescreen from state lawmakers in advance of the legislative session.

Source: New Orleans CityBusiness

The true cost of ‘tax free:’ Raising the homestead exemption would be too costly for Louisianians

Mar 25, 2009

Everyone wants a free lunch — but everyone also should know such a thing does not exist.

Source: Times Picayune

Watchdog group thinks proposals to double homestead exemption are a bad idea

Mar 24, 2009

Proposals to amend the state Constitution to more than double the homestead exemption are a bad idea, a local nonpartisan research and policy organization said Monday.

Source: Times Picayune

Amendments Address Property Issues, Public Investments

Oct 31, 2008

How state government should tax homeowners, sell expropriated property and make public investments are at the heart of three proposed constitutional amendments on next week’s ballot.

Source: Houma Corrier

Changes Address Officials’ Roles

Oct 29, 2008

Three constitutional amendments on Tuesday’s ballot address the way political appointees and lawmakers do their jobs.

Source: Thibodaux Daily Comet

Voters to Decide if Investing Allowed

Oct 28, 2008

Among the seven proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot, Louisiana voters will decide whether to let state and local governments invest in the stock market with money from public-employee retirement health care and life insurance funds.

Source: Times-Picayune

Amendment Shares Oil Revenue

Oct 22, 2008

Among the seven proposed changes to the state constitution on the Nov. 4 ballot in Louisiana is an amendment that would shift oil and gas severance tax revenue from the state to parishes where the industry activity is the greatest.

Source: Times-Picayune

Tax Amendment Could Benefit EBR

Oct 21, 2008

East Baton Rouge Parish stands to gain an additional $1.2 million a year from one of seven constitutional
amendments facing voters on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate

Commentary: Ballot Propositions

Oct 21, 2008

The Nov. 4 ballot presents Louisiana voters with much more than the all-
important contests for president, U.S. Senate and Congress.

Source: Gambit Weekly

Constitution Changes Going to Voters

Oct 21, 2008

When voters go to the polls Nov. 4, they will be greeted by seven little-heralded proposed changes to the state Constitution, including ones to limit the terms of 10 state boards, require the governor to give lawmakers more notice of a special session, and authorize a temporary replacement to fill a legislator’s seat if the incumbent is called to military duty for at least 180 days.

Source: Times-Picayune

Lorusso Called up to Army Duty

Oct 16, 2008

Under present law, if a lawmaker is called to active military duty, the district seat is temporarily left without a representative. If the proposed constitutional change passes, lawmakers would have the authority to go through a procedure to fill the opening on a temporary basis.

Source: Times-Picayune

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