The Lost Penny

(Opinion) City Seeks to Raise Your Taxes

By Jeff Thomas

Source: Think504

October 27, 2019

One of the reasons you love Think504 is that we keep you informed about important political and civic decisions you have to make.  So when you go into the voting booth (Early voting Nov 2-9  Election Day Nov 16) to elect our new governor, if you live in Orleans Parish you will see 3 tax related measures and a civil rights support option.  I know, more taxes, right?  But if you are afraid of thunderstorms and tired of potholes, then this is your opportunity to decide if you can afford to pay the costs to fix all of this stuff. The city seeks to raise taxes to fund improvements.

This is the first in a series about each of these tax issues on the ballot.  Today we will look at what they are, how they are different and the amount of money they will raise.  Over the next three weeks we will examine each in more detail and help you make a thoroughly informed decision.  The bottom line is that to repair our crumbling antiquated infrastructure, the city wants to raise your taxes.


The first choice you will see is the proposal to change the city’s Home Rule Charter to create another commission.  If you vote yes, you vote to create the Human Rights Commission.  Its’ stated purpose is to safeguard all individuals in the City of New Orleans from discrimination.  This will add a new layer of city government and a board of commissioners that will have a budget and regularly scheduled meetings to help safeguard our citizens from discrimination.


Halloween decorations on potholes has got to be a New Orleans thing, right?  Well this novel attraction might go the way of Lincoln Beach or Pontchartrain Beach if voters pass these tax increases.  Though the administration might explain how an expiring tax will offset the impact of one of these measures, make no mistake each is a new tax increase the city says it needs to improve the crumbling New Orleans infrastructure and to fund city government.


The first tax measure is a bond sale that will raise half a billion dollars in bonds that the city will spend on all kinds of stuff, like new trucks, parks, libraries, furniture, playgrounds, building improvements, affordable housing, drains and much, much more. This 30-year measure will basically fund most city services.  Oh yea, and the administration made sure to include infrastructure, potholes and stormwater management facilities for good measure.


New Orleanians have been complaining for years about bad streets and recent SWB failures have highlighted the need to repair our drainage system.  So, in addition to the bonds, the city wants to also collect another $10.5 million a year for the next 20 years dedicated to public infrastructure in the city.  This new millage will be added directly onto your property tax bill.


Short Term Rental Tax

Remember the “Fair Share” victory the mayor enjoyed?  Well the state did cough up some money, but the lion’s share of the money will actually come from this new tax on short term rentals.  This is also a victory for tourism leaders who will not only share in the proceeds of this new tax but claim this tax will help level the playing field for traditional hotels.  This tax will largely be paid by tourists who stay in STRs.

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