Danae Columbus: Mayor Cantrell needs Gov. Edwards’ help with keeping more tourism taxes in New Orleans

Danae Columbus: Mayor Cantrell needs Gov. Edwards’ help with keeping more tourism taxes in New Orleans

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

When Mayor LaToya Cantrell addressed the Bureau of Governmental Research on Tuesday, she was quick to share with you her need to add currently exempt property to the tax rolls while also re-distributing other tax dollars which are generated in New Orleans, those collected by the tourism industry especially. Even though the town Council proposed new millage to aid older persons recently, Cantrell told the packed house that New Orleans cannot tax our way into prosperity and contains been clear a budget shortfall of at the very least $24 million is anticipated for 2019.

President’s Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors has declared the pugilative war on poverty largely over, in line with the New York Times. The nation’s recovery has bypassed around 40 million Americans who live below the federal poverty level. As a progressive and former community organizer, Cantrell knows all well that lots of New Orleanians &ndash too; folks of color &ndash especially; lack decent jobs still, affordable housing, and safe neighborhoods. Thousands meet up with the federal poverty level threshold still. That’s why increasing the house tax re-distributing and base existing sales tax dollars is really a Cantrell priority, alongside “fixing” the Sewerage & Water Board, needless to say.

Cantrell admitted that eliminating property tax exemptions held by non-profits quickly, churches and schools would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Protests by affected groups will be overwhelming surely. It may be easier, Cantrell may have surmised, to utilize revenues generated from restaurants and hotels – a lot of which results in the tactile hands of the state-owned and operated Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, that is said to have significantly more than $300 million in reserves.

Cantrell and the BGR have raised several serious questions concerning the substantial public subsidies in mind for the much-anticipated 1,200-room convention center hotel developers Joe Jaeger and Darryl Berger propose to create just upriver. Both combined groups say they don’t oppose the hotel project but seek an improved deal. It really is ironic that the developers would reap the benefits of tax dollars generated by other hotels to compete keenly against them after the new facility is complete. Cantrell, the BGR among others can continue steadily to apply public strain on the Convention Center board to lessen the subsidies, but – as an ongoing state agency – they’re under no obligation to concur.

No developer really wants to encumber a lot of their own profit a project too. In this full case, the hotel venture is greater than a little risky, in the first years especially. Yet, besides attracting more conventions, the hotel project would create desperately needed construction and permanent jobs and spur additional economic activity across the Tchoupitoulas Street corridor for generations ahead. No other proposed public or private project could have this impact.

Some observers believe Cantrell should be able to easily negotiate small concessions in to the project such as for example robust DBE goals during construction and operation, minority hiring, promotion and training programs, salary guidelines, start-up grants for small company that could locate inside a prescribed footprint, and paid summer internships.

Re-distributing sales tax revenues generated from tourism spending will be a lot more difficult. Unless Governor John Bel Edwards will abide by her request, the mayor’s words will fall on deaf ears mostly. Governors usually prefer to control how state resources are spent or not spent. They’re not particularly adept at sharing resources also. Edwards is not any different probably, year even yet in an election.

The governor’s election victory four years back was located in part due to strong turnout by African-American voters in New Orleans. African-American elected officials like Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, a Cantrell chair and ally of the state’s Democratic Party, could weigh in.

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The tourism industry earned the proper to levy the taxes involved and can remain the building blocks of New Orleans’ economy for the near future. Up to now, New Orleans’ investment inside our tourism infrastructure handsomely has paid. If the known degree of public subsidy for the hotel project stays as proposed or decreases, there is absolutely no good reason to trust a 1,200-room hotel close to the convention center wouldn’t be considered a solid long-term investment for several New Orleans including for many who live below the federal poverty level. Mayor Cantrell will be hard pressed to avoid the permitting process. Therefore many observers anticipate the project moving with only minor modifications forward.


Whether or not the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for a vacancy on the U.S. Week supreme Court moves full speed ahead next, the screening process for appointees changes. The FBI must strengthen their background check process more even, as it pertains to previous sexual conduct especially.

Americans may never know very well what really happened between 17-year old Kavanaugh and 15-year old Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist at Palo Alto University now. What we can say for certain is Blasey Ford carried this memory deep inside her for nearly four decades while she led the low-key life of an academician. She came only because her &ldquo forward;civic responsibility” outweighed terror and anguish about retaliation, reported the Washington Post. Blasey Ford’s story is quite compelling probably, ought to be heard and evaluated fully.

There are just 6 women on the list of 51 Republican U.S. Senators. If Judge Kavanaugh&rsquo even;s nomination is confirmed by the Senate Finance Committee – which include Louisiana’s own Sen. John Kennedy – it may be problematic for all 6 women to vote affirmatively in this #Me Too era. When Anita Hill accused Justice Clarence Thomas &ndash bravely; a Supreme Court nominee &ndash then; of sexual harassment in 1991, she was ridiculed widely. Thomas was confirmed quickly. Hill is becoming Blasey Ford’s role model and another outcome remains possible. Sexual misconduct is quite real at work still, churches, schools, and in government. Thank heavens allegations of sexual misconduct are longer just brushed beneath the rug no.


Already a darling on the national political circuit and a potential presidential contender in 2020, Mitch Landrieu is probably the headliners at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser September 28 in Austin Texas alongside Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Colorado Gov. John others and Hickenlooper, in accordance with Politico.


With recovery from last year’s Hurricane Maria moving exceedingly slow still, government officials in Puerto Rico are doing what New Orleans officials were unwilling to accomplish – eliminating government financial assist with homeowners who insist upon rebuilding on flood-prone land. In line with the Wall Street Journal, government resources are increasingly being withheld in areas which are susceptible to soil erosion, chronic destruction and flood from future storms. Puerto Rican officials says relocation to safer neighborhoods may be the best suited long-term solution, taking into consideration the high cost of home elevations and low medium home values relatively. Rebuilding in areas more likely to flood is really a major issue in places like Texas already, Florida and the Carolinas now. Future storms inside our area could add New Orleans to the list.

Danae Columbus, who has already established a 30-year career in politics and pr, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as for example District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Council members Stacy Jared and Head Brossett, City Councilwoman-elect Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.