BGR Analyzes New Orleans Parks and Recreation Tax Proposal

• Bureau of Governmental Research

Overview

The report analyzes a May 4, 2019 tax proposition in New Orleans to replace three existing taxes for parks and recreation totaling 6.31 mills with a single tax at the same rate. Voter approval would not result in a tax increase.

The three existing taxes fund the Audubon Zoo (0.32 mills), the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and related facilities (2.99 mills), and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and the City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways (3 mills, split evenly between the two agencies). The replacement tax would run for 20 years and fund more park agencies and a broader range of purposes than the existing taxes. Under the replacement tax, Audubon would receive less property tax revenue, but it would be able to apply the revenue to any of its facilities. NORDC and Parks and Parkways would receive larger allocations, and City Park would receive its first-ever property tax funding.

This report is the latest in BGR’s On the Ballot series, which provides voters with objective, nonpartisan analysis of significant ballot propositions in the New Orleans metropolitan area. In producing On the Ballot reports, BGR recommends positions consistent with its mission of promoting informed public policy and the effective use of public resources for the improvement of local government. On the Ballot reports bring to light the strengths and weaknesses of ballot propositions and assess the potential for government expenditures or actions to efficiently achieve beneficial outcomes for citizens.

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