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BGR Reports

Public Contributions to Convention Center Hotel Demand Scrutiny

Jul 19, 2018

Convention Hotel cover

In this report, BGR provides an analytical framework for evaluating the necessity and size of a private development team’s requested public contributions to design, build and operate a 1,200-room hotel attached to the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. BGR estimates that the proposed contributions – some of which would remain in place for 40 years – would be worth $329.5 million in today’s dollars.

The report outlines five criteria for analyzing the developers’ proposal based on BGR’s research of best practices for public participation in economic development projects. The reports calls on the Convention Center to (1) clearly justify any public contributions to the hotel project and (2) provide ample time for citizens and public officials to review any tentative deal before final approval.

From Answers to Action: Post-Election Policy Making

Jun 21, 2018

From Answers to Action

From Answers to Action: Post-Election Policy Making is the latest installment in BGR’s Candidate Q&A Election Series, which surveyed the mayoral and City Council candidates last fall about their positions on important issues facing City government. The new report consolidates and reissues the responses of the newly elected officials who responded to the surveys, which covered topics that persist as critically important. Examples include NOPD funding, street maintenance and land use planning.

We encourage citizens to revisit the issues by reviewing the BGR research and the elected officials’ responses presented in this report. Where the officials express positions that clearly affirm or align with BGR’s recommendations, we strongly urge them to identify – and take action on – the steps necessary to achieve those goals.

Read the full report.

Read report excerpts on these issues:

Public Safety

Effective Government

Employee Compensation and Pensions

Civil Service

Professional Services Contracting

Street Maintenance

Drainage System

Local Tax Dedications

Tax Exemptions and the Tax Base

Economic Development Tax Subsidies

Land Use Planning

2017 Candidate Q&A Election Series

Sep 14, 2017

2017 Candidate Q&A

BGR provides New Orleans voters with its 2017 Candidate Q&A Election Series. For the October 14th primary elections, BGR submitted questions to all mayoral and City Council candidates on public safety, infrastructure and other important public policy issues facing the City of New Orleans government. BGR compiled the answers of the candidates who responded and released them in installments for each race. In addition, BGR conducted podcast interviews with LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet, the two mayoral candidates in the November 18th runoff election. Click on the links below to access the videos and the Q&A reports.*

Read the media release.
City Council At Large Division 1
City Council At Large Division 2
City Council District A
City Council District B
City Council District C
City Council District E

*No candidate from District D responded.
Video and production by Dennis Woltering PhotoVideo.

Convention Center Bill Highlights Need to Rethink Local Taxation

May 11, 2016

BGR Now Logo

In Convention Center Bill Highlights Need to Rethink Local Taxation, BGR addresses a bill that would grant taxing authority to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s economic development district. The release calls for a comprehensive re-evaluation of Orleans Parish taxes, with an eye toward aligning tax revenues with the city’s most pressing needs.

Fourth Time’s the Charm?

Aug 26, 2014

World Trade Center

Following the city’s announcement that it will begin a fourth Request for Proposals process to redevelop the former World Trade Center building, BGR calls for a new approach: selling the building to the highest bidder.

BGR Explores Proposals to Redevelop Former World Trade Center Site

Jul 1, 2013


In 3 Visions for 2 Canal Street: The Proposals to Redevelop the Former World Trade Center Site, BGR summarizes and compares the three responses to the city’s request for proposals to redevelop this important public property.

The Hotel Assessment: A Question of Priorities, a Question of Propriety

May 14, 2013

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR examines a proposal to impose what amounts to a new hotel tax.

On the Ballot: November 6, 2012

Oct 1, 2012

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: November 6, 2012, BGR examines three proposed constitutional amendments, two propositions pertaining to multiple parishes in the New Orleans area, a proposed change to the City of New Orleans charter and two local tax propositions.

BGR Examines Local, State Items on Fall Ballots

Oct 6, 2011

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: Local and State Propositions, October and November 2011, BGR examines charter amendments in Jefferson and Orleans parishes, tax propositions in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes, and six amendments to the state constitution.

BGR Presentations to the Tax Fairness Commission

Feb 10, 2011

Tax Fairness Commission - General

The Bureau of Governmental Research made presentations before the New Orleans Tax Fairness Commission on February 3, 2011 and February 23, 2011.

The first presentation, Taxation in New Orleans, examines the City’s tax picture, with particular emphasis on property taxes. Read it here.

The second presentation, The Industrial Development Board and PILOT Subsidies, provides information on the Industrial Development Board of New Orleans and the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) subsidies that it awards to developments. Read it here.

In the Private Interest: A Review of the Lake Forest Plaza TIF Proposal

Sep 16, 2009

In the Private Interest: A Review of the Lake Forest Plaza TIF Proposal

In this report entitled In the Private Interest: A Review of the Lake Forest Plaza TIF Proposal, BGR analyzes a tax increment financing (TIF) proposal by the owners of the former mall site to use public funds to clear up debts on the site and redevelop it.

BGR’s Letter Makes Recommendations on the Economic Development Fund

Feb 4, 2009

On Feb. 3, BGR sent a letter to Councilman Arnold Fielkow, Chairman of City Council’s Special Projects and Economic Development Committee, on the use and operation of the city’s Economic Development Fund. The letter recommends that the city abandon the current practice of directing grants to a handful of individual business ventures or nonprofit activities. Instead, it urges the city to use the EDF funds to fund economic development functions and initiatives that benefit multiple businesses.

Look Before You Leap: Tax Increment Financing in Jefferson Parish

Jul 22, 2008

Look Before You Leap - Jefferson Parish TIF

Look Before You Leap: Tax Increment Financing in Jefferson Parish provides an overview of tax increment financing (TIF) and describes four TIF districts proposed in Jefferson Parish. It also reviews the perceived benefits of TIF, as well as the pitfalls and potential abuses of the mechanism. It concludes with recommendations concerning the future use of TIF in Jefferson Parish.

Drafting a TIF Policy for New Orleans

Mar 12, 2008

The City of New Orleans is working on a draft policy governing tax increment financing. BGR submitted comments on the February 2008 draft at the request of the City Council’s Special Development Projects and Economic Development Committee. The letter recommends that the City look to San Antonio’s TIF policy for guidance. In November, BGR submitted a letter commenting on a City TIF policy report.

Stop the Insanity on Subsidies

Sep 17, 2007

In the face of mounting developer requests for subsidies, this release calls for the City of New Orleans and the Industrial Development Board of New Orleans to stop approving subsidies until they have implemented promised policies and procedures.

Public Investment, Private Developers

May 15, 2007

In Public Investment, Private Developers: How Louisiana Deployed Its GO Zone Housing Tax Credits, BGR analyzes the unit production and geographic distribution of developments awarded $1.7 billion worth of Gulf Opportunity Zone Housing Tax Credits. In addition, it analyzes the financing and costs of projects that received tax credit awards in December 2006. Developments in that group were eligible to “piggy-back” the tax credits with loans of federal Community Development Block Grant funds made available through a Louisiana Recovery Authority program.

Seeking Subsidies on Top of Subsidies

May 3, 2007

In a follow-up to Protecting New Orleans’ Tax Base: Which PILOTs Should Fly? BGR raises concerns about requests for local property tax subsidies to housing developments that have already received subsidies through state and federal programs.

Protecting New Orleans’ Tax Base: Which PILOTs Should Fly?

Mar 12, 2007

In Protecting New Orleans’ Tax Base: Which PILOTs Should Fly? BGR addresses New Orleans’ system for handling property tax subsidies through the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) mechanism. This report comes at a time when requests for such subsidies are increasing.

BGR Comments on Condominium Subsidies

Aug 24, 2005

The Times-Picayune carried an Op-Ed piece by BGR’s President Janet Howard on the issue of public subsidies for high-end condominiums

Funds and Games: Paying for the Saints

Jan 26, 2005

The New Orleans Saints and the State of Louisiana are in the midst of negotiations that will determine whether the Saints remain in New Orleans. Sports subsidies present communities with difficult political and financial decisions. In this report, BGR seeks to provide policymakers and the public with background information relevant to current negotiations with the Saints.

On the Right Track?  New Orleans’ Economic Development in Perspective

Nov 22, 2004

To provide citizens and government with a better understanding of their investment, BGR presents in this report an overview of economic development expenditures in New Orleans.

Uneconomic Development: An Analysis of the World Trade Center Lease

Mar 25, 2004

In a ground-breaking report, BGR tests the City’s claims of economic benefits in the World Trade Center hotel conversion. The report digs deep beneath the surface to unearth the fiscal imprudence of the lease deal for the City.

Tax Increment Financing in New Orleans

Apr 14, 2003

BGR issued a study on the use of tax increment financing (TIF) in New Orleans. The study reviews the use of TIF in general and in New Orleans in particular.

New Orleans District and Industrial Millage Proposition

Jan 18, 2002

On February 2, 2002, the voters of New Orleans will consider a proposition to authorize the extension of the property tax millage for the New Orleans Business and Industrial District (“NOB&ID” or the “District”).

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