Reports › Taxation and Assessments
Analysis of government policies, finance, management, and administration
In an open letter to the Louisiana Legislature, BGR reiterates the problems with the state’s unusual nonprofit property tax exemptions. The letter explains the deficiencies in the current provisions, demonstrates their unusual status in the context of other states’ requirements and presents a template for a constitutional amendment.
In On the Ballot: Jefferson Parish Taxes, December 10, 2016, BGR examines and takes positions on four dedicated taxes up for renewal: a sales tax for parish sewerage, road and drainage projects, law enforcement and municipal governments in Jefferson; and three property taxes for parish drainage, recreation and public schools.
In On the Ballot: New Orleans Fire and Drainage Taxes, December 10, 2016, BGR examines and takes positions on two property tax propositions: a tax increase for fire protection services and a tax renewal for the Sewerage & Water Board’s drainage system.
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.
In It’s Time for Common Sense on Nonprofit Exemptions, BGR calls on the Louisiana Legislature to address overly broad language in the state constitution that is costly to both local governments and taxpayers.
In The $1 Billion Question: Do the Tax Dedications in New Orleans Make Sense? BGR presents a comprehensive picture of where local tax dollars are going in Orleans Parish. The report provides breakdowns of tax dedications by entity and by purpose, and gives examples of problems that can arise when tax dedications are established with little planning and accountability. It also makes recommendations to help ensure existing tax revenues are deployed optimally.
In On the Ballot: October 24, 2015, BGR explains, analyzes and takes positions on a proposed quarter-cent sales tax for public safety in New Orleans’ French Quarter and a constitutional amendment allowing the state to invest in an infrastructure bank.
In On the Ballot: Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes, May 2, 2015, BGR explains, analyzes and takes positions on proposed taxes for the Orleans Parish Law Enforcement District, the New Orleans Public Library system and the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District in St. Bernard Parish.
In this release, BGR examines a proposal to impose what amounts to a new hotel tax.
This edition of Now addresses problems associated with the nonprofit exemption, and what can be done to solve them.
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.
On the Ballot: Jefferson Parish, April 30, 2011 examines one sales tax proposition and three property tax propositions. The propositions include taxes for schools and drainage.
In The Nonprofit Margin: Addressing the Costs of the Nonprofit Exemption in New Orleans (March 2011), BGR examines the impact of the nonprofit exemption on government finances and tax rates and various approaches for mitigating that impact.
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 Rolling Forward: The Complete Picture, BGR provides a composite picture of citywide property tax rates in Orleans Parish, the capacity of various taxing entities to increase those rates, and the potential cost to property owners.
In Forgotten Promises: The Lost Connection Between the Homestead Exemption and the Revenue Sharing Fund (June 2010), BGR examines the decline of a state mechanism to cover the costs of the exemption.
As the campaign for the city’s soon-to-be consolidated assessor’s office begins, BGR releases In All Fairness: Building a Model Assessment System in New Orleans. The report explains what the new citywide assessor must do to create a fair, efficient and transparent assessment system in Orleans Parish.
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.
In Who’s Behind the Tree? The Homestead Exemption and Taxpayers in the New Orleans Area, BGR examines the impacts of a proposed increase in Louisiana’s homestead exemption on taxpayers in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes.
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.
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.
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.
Aug 14, 2007
BGR provided this piece for publication in Gambit Weekly, explaining the ways in which significantly increased assessments can be about fairness and the common good.
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.
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.
Mar 22, 2006
Part of a series of web-based reports BGR began publishing following the 2005 disaster.
Jan 26, 2006
Part of a web-based series of reports on the rebuilding of New Orleans following the 2005 disaster.
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
May 11, 2005
In New Orleans, too many property owners pay little or no taxes on their properties; exemptions are granted regardless of need; and, as a result of inconsistent assessments, properties of similar value bear widely different tax burdens. In this report, BGR illustrates the impact of under-assessments and excessive exemptions on local governments and taxpayers in Orleans Parish. It also briefly reviews pending legislation that would exacerbate inequities and further limit the revenue base of local governments.
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.
Apr 14, 2003
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”).
Dec 28, 1999
Mar 19, 1999
An analysis of four dedicated property tax millages on the ballot for renewal in Jefferson Parish. All millages were renewed.
Oct 23, 1998
This report provides a short analysis of the potential creation of three separate neighborhood-based special tax districts and a recommendation on two proposed amendments to the State Constitution.
Sep 18, 1998
This report provides a short analysis of the proposal to levy a one-mill ad valorem tax to fund the offices of the Orleans Parish Assessors.
Oct 21, 1996
A report with recommendations on the value and assessment of real estate exempt from property taxation in New Orleans.