Need Even More from Our Delegation and Citizens
By Jeff Thomas
On the heels of the one of the most successful legislative sessions in modern history, the New Orleans legislative delegation must do more in this session or risk losing all the gains made. Our delegation’s leadership and clout led to the most transformative and impactful laws to ever come from the Louisiana legislature in the last 75 years. But this session presents even more complex and problematic challenges based upon the needs of the city of New Orleans. And currently our delegation seems to be losing ground.
Last year, Louisiana passed progressive legislation that improves the lives of all of our citizens. Most celebrated is the unanimous juries’ legislation that removed a revolting racist relic and now requires unanimity in jury decisions. No more kinda’ sorta guilty people sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Also, a new law provides protection against gentrification caused property tax hikes and convicted felons can now get jobs with the city or state. Regressive sales taxes were not allowed to balloon out of control.
Combined, these laws will directly improve all of our lives. But the current session is underway, and funding New Orleans’ infrastructure repairs is currently being debated in the House Ways and Means Committee. In fact, there is an important meeting of the committee this afternoon. There is resistance to our legislative delegation.
As you are painfully aware, the City is facing a major infrastructure crisis. Our streets are crumbling; boil water advisories occur too often; more than half our water is lost through leaky pipes; and street flooding is common.
Yet, our local tax dollars are going elsewhere. 14% of all local taxes ($151 million) goes to tourism and sports entities. By contrast, a pitiful 3% ($32 million) goes to streets.
Mayor Cantrell is working hard to obtain a larger share of tourism taxes for basic infrastructure. However, she is running into serious resistance in Baton Rouge.
YOU CAN HELP THE CITY IN ITS BATTLE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDS. PLEASE EMAIL OR PHONE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE TO LET THEM KNOW THAT NEW ORLEANIANS ARE FED UP. WE WANT A FAIR SHARE OF OUR TOURISM TAXES REDIRECTED TO BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE.
Time is of the essence, since the committee meets on Monday afternoon to hear three bills that would increase the City’s share of hotel taxes (HB 521, 522 and 573). Members’ contact information is below. You can click the links or copy and paste and directly reach key legislators. Do it now! It’s important!
|Abramson, Neil C.||Chairman||District 98||Dfirstname.lastname@example.org||(504)275-8051|
|Morris, James “Jim”||Vice Chair||District 1||Remail@example.com||(318)995-6852|
|Bouie, Joseph||Member||District 97||Dfirstname.lastname@example.org||(504)286-1033|
|Bourriaque, Ryan||Member||District 47||Remail@example.com||(337)893-5035|
|Davis, Paula||Member||District 69||Rfirstname.lastname@example.org||(225)362-5301|
|DeVillier, Phillip||Member||District 41||Remail@example.com||(337)457-0194|
|Duplessis, Royce||Member||District 93||Dfirstname.lastname@example.org||504-568-2740|
|Dwight, Stephen||Member||District 35||Remail@example.com||(337)491-2315|
|Harris, Jimmy||Member||District 99||Dfirstname.lastname@example.org||(504)243-1960|
|Horton, Dodie||Member||District 9||Remail@example.com||(318)949-2463|
|Huval, Mike||Member||District 46||Rfirstname.lastname@example.org||(337)332-3331|
|Ivey, Barry||Member||District 65||Remail@example.com||(225)261-5739|
|James, Edward C. “Ted”||Member||District 101||Dfirstname.lastname@example.org||(225)343-3633|
|Johnson, Robert A.||Member||District 28||Demail@example.com||(318)253-8891|
|LaCombe, Jeremy||Member||District 18||Dfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Morris, John C. “Jay”||Member||District 14||Remail@example.com||318)362-4270|
|Schexnayder, Clay||Member||District 81||Rfirstname.lastname@example.org||(225)473-6016|
|Stefanski, John M.||Member||District 42||Remail@example.com||(337)384-8999|
|Stokes, Julie||Member||District 79||Rfirstname.lastname@example.org||(504)468-8603|
|Barras, Taylor F.||Ex Officio||District 48||Remail@example.com||(337)373-4051|
|Leger, Walt III||Ex Officio||District 91||Dfirstname.lastname@example.org||(504)556-9970|