Be Informed When You Vote
By Jeff Thomas
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 Saturday 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. How to vote on these new taxes on Saturday.
Today we will look at what they are, how they are different and what your vote will do. The bottom line is that to repair our crumbling antiquated infrastructure, the city wants to raise your taxes. Can you afford to say yes or no?
CIVIC AFFAIRS ISSUE
Though not a tax, 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. Click the link to see a sample ballot
Although 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.
If you VOTE YES, then potholes will be filled, storm drains will be cleaned the police will get new cars, etc. The question you have to ask is can you afford another $95 a year in property taxes to fund city government?
If you VOTE NO, then you can expect streets to not be fixed, deterioration of playgrounds, parks, not to mention stormwater management. Click the link to create your sample ballot
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.
A YES VOTE will dedicate this money for infrastructure.
A NO VOTE means your street might flood when it rains. Or maybe your house. Depending on the value of your house, you bill might go up $100 a year. Click the link to create your sample ballot
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.
A YES VOTE will tax mainly tourists (or your staycation) who use AirBNB and other apps to stay in short term rental properties across the city and fund our fair share.
A NO VOTE keeps these properties virtually tax free and provides no fair share funding to the city. Click the link to create a sample ballot