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Infrastructure Funding Deal for New Orleans Requires Major Politicking
"A deal is again close to being struck to raise more money for New Orleans’s drainage system and the Sewerage & Water Board after a prior agreement reached earlier in the week tripped near the finish line," reports Julia O'Donoghue and Beau Evans.
According to the article, a couple of bills are involved in the deal, including House Bill 589, sponsored by Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans. That bill "would establish how much money the city would receive from the Morial Convention Center’s reserve fund, along with how the facility could use the money to help build a 1,200-room hotel on its property," according to O'Donoghue and Evans.
"The deal follows months of negotiations between Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Gov. John Bel Edwards and hospitality sector leaders, who have at times pushed back on the mayor’s call for a larger share of tax revenues dedicated to tourism-focused groups. Sources have said the deal involves giving the city $48 million in up front money and $27 million in annual revenue."
The other bill in play would implement a new tax on short-term rentals. House Bill 43, authored by Rep. Jimmy Harris, D-New Orleans, calls for a 6.75% occupancy tax on short-term rentals in New Orleans. "An amendment to that bill would send 75% of the tax revenues a city infrastructure improvement fund, and one-fourth would go to New Orleans & Co. The tax would need final approval from New Orleans voters in an election before taking effect," according to the article.