On the Ballot

Editorial: Standing for our Seniors

By The Louisiana Weekly

Source: The Louisiana Weekly

March 25, 2019

VOTE YES in the upcoming 2 Mills, Senior Services Property Tax Special Election on March 30.

Funding for senior services has collapsed in Orleans Parish post-Katrina, and the dollars allocated out of the General Fund proved pretty anemic prior to the storm.

In fact, state appropriations for the Council on Aging have teetered on the chopping block since the Jindal Administration took office, and few local public resources have been available to make up the gap. “Meals on Wheels” can no longer feed the numbers of seniors it once could, and basic senior services wither on the vine. Generous private sector contributors have attempted to make up the difference. The needs are so great, though, that a steady public partnership is required.

Here, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the Bureau of Governmental Research are wrong in their rejection of the millage. The Council on Aging stands as no mere “third-party” organization. Its staffers – and myriad of volunteers – have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to making the lives of seniors more comfortable, as well as their wise stewardship of the funds allowing this to occur.

When the leadership of the Council on Aging says that they desperately need more money to keep senior services alive and expanding, the editorial board of The Louisiana Weekly believes them.

In fact, with respect Madam Mayor, assigning property taxes to a semi-private organization – which also seeks private sector contributions to do public work – is quite literally the logic being used to encourage citizens to vote on May 4 to redirect the Audubon property tax (in part) to City Park and NORD-C.

Government cannot provide every part of the social safety net, yet neither can the private sector alone. It’s a lesson that our editors wish both the Left and the Right would learn.

Moreover, Orleans Parish already saw its millage rate decrease by three mills in the past year. Adding an additional two mills still puts the overall millage rate down by one, and answers some of the legitimate concerns that property taxes in the city grow upwardly uncompetitive.

It’s not easy to go vote on a beautiful Spring day when nothing else is on the ballot. Our editors ardently wish this two mill tax had ended up as part of the May 4th election, so as not to pointlessly force people to the polls twice in as many months. Nevertheless, a 10-minute trip to the ballot box is worth it. Please go out on Saturday, March 30, and vote for our seniors. Vote for this millage increase.

This article originally published in the March 25, 2019 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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