On the Ballot

EXPLAINER: Dec. 5 New Orleans tax propositions

By Jennifer Crockett

Source: WDSU

December 3, 2020

In Orleans Parish, multiple property tax measures are on the Dec. 5 ballot.

Proposition 1 funds infrastructure, including roadwork. A yes vote for Proposition 1 would replace two existing property taxes with a new special tax. The existing millage total $4.40 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Proposition 1 would replace those millages with one special tax of $2.619 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Proposition 2 funds construction and maintenance of libraries and early childhood educational facilities. A yes vote for Proposition 2 would pass a special tax of $0.987 per $1,000 of assessed property value. It would replace an existing library tax of $4 per $1,000 of assessed property if passed.

Proposition 3 funds housing and urban development, which includes affordable housing initiatives. The special tax of $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed property tax value for housing and $1.164 per $1,000 of assessed property value for economic development projects. It would replace the Housing and Economic Development Trust Fund tax of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Each of the three propositions are 20-year property taxes, which would take effect in 2021 if approved. If rejected, the existing taxes they were set to replace would expire at the end of next year, according to Ballotpedia.

The Bureau of Government Research released a report on the propositions. To read it, click here.

WDSU political analyst and Xavier professor Silas Lee said voters may not be willing to support the propositions during the current economic crisis.

“New Orleans is trying to enhance the social, economic and human infrastructure, addressing the issues of affordable housing, economic development, early childhood education, the libraries, the infrastructure in terms of streets,” Lee said. “All those are critical issues that citizens are concerned about. Naturally, you have to consider the context. We are in the midst of a pandemic, a global pandemic, that’s affecting the ability not just to work, but their health status. So that’s something that we haven’t seen challenge any kind of revenue generating initiative in the past.”

Voters in the New Orleans French Quarter will also decide whether or not to renew a special tax for public safety in their neighborhood, a popular tourist destination. The quarter-cent tax renewal is not a done-deal either, with disagreement and confusion about how the money would be spent.

Polls are open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website or click here.

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