By Jeff Thomas
We all want a better New Orleans. The biggest and single most critical factor preventing NOLA from being as great as it can be is the 46% unemployment of African American men. This translates to crime, blight, and poor education outcomes. Changing this one statistic will transform NOLA into a progressive city with a huge tax base that can make the city an urban model of economic prosperity for all people. Making these easy changes can start moving the city and state in the right direction.
- Reduce African American male unemployment by 20%. An immediate jobs program to coincide with the Sewerage and Water Board’s planned $150 million spending. In fact, if more spending goes to African American male employment initially, then new bills will generate more income for the SWB. Also long term increased tax collection will result in more repair projects which will result in a better water system for us all.
- Restructure and strengthen the DBE program to REQUIRE contractors to give 35% of all city contracts to African American companies from Orleans Parish. Also, as part of DBE program provide contractor training and increase African American licensed contractors by 15% EVERY QUARTER.
- Begin analysis to restructure tax collections in New Orleans. Should we really fund Audubon Park and the Aquarium of the Americas at the expense of seniors – who need more meals on wheels and children who need better parks and recreation?
- Restructure NOPD to put more boots on the ground and out from behind desks. Better deployment of experienced officers in the streets will put our most experienced and effective officers on the front lines. Train and hire citizens to accomplish clerical work that many brass do on a daily basis.
- Pressure charter schools to hire more African American teachers who live in Orleans Parish. Charters can rebuild the middle class that was destroyed by Katrina. New Orleans needs the structure and tax base of families with teachers in the communities.
- Restructure New Orleans Hotel Motel tax and keep those tax dollars in New Orleans. Currently taxes from New Orleans fund projects across the state except for Orleans Parish. Legislation should require municipalities to access all available local sources of funding for their own local services before they can access New Orleans’ tax fund.
- Reduce biggest prison industrial complex in America! Savings of over $3 billion annually are available if the entire structure is changed. Instead of a focus on punishment, crime prevention through jobs, property ownership and a raised statewide minimum wage will improve the quality of life for us all!
- Scour commissions and boards in every parish that have taxpayer funded budgets and reinvest any budget excesses into economic development projects in those parishes
- Raise minimum wage or allow municipalities to raise their minimum wage.
- Make BDE a requirement and not a goal in all state projects