Voters pass two of three tax initiatives in Orleans Parish

Updated: Nov. 17, 2019 at 11:23 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - While all eyes were on the all important governor’s race which ended with a close win for incumbent John Bel Edwards, some votes lower on the ballot will be of high importance in Orleans Parish moving forward.

“Governor Edwards now has a lot to owe to New Orleans East, East Baton Rouge; a lot of the populist cities in the state," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman. “Voters showed a lot of nuance in New Orleans Saturday night; the $500 million bond issue, and the short term rental tax that visitors would pay."

In a statement, Mayor Latoya Cantrell called the yes votes a huge win for the parish.

“Congratulations to Governor John Bel Edwards! Re-electing him was a huge win for the people of Louisiana, and for the people of New Orleans — who came out in force to show up for a governor who stood up for us,” said Cantrell. “Thank you as well to all of our Orleans Parish residents who stood up and spoke out for the ‘Ballot of Yes’. Voters said yes to our bond sale, yes to our STR measure, and yes to our Human Rights Commission— and in doing so, they said yes to funding our critical needs and to getting our people their fair share. Big wins tonight for our City, for our residents, and for Gov. John Bel Edwards!”

City officials say the $500 million in bonds will go towards infrastructure and drainage concerns and will eventually be paid back with existing tax revenue, while the short term rental tax will come from visitors and go towards things like infrastructure and tourism.

But after thousands in the parish recently saw their property tax assessments rise as much as 100 percent, Sherman says it was unlikely that residents would vote for a millage increase.

“When it came to a millage on peoples properties after they just had new assessments go into place, that was a tough environment for any mayor to operate within.”

And whether or not it was expected, Cantrell has gone on record that not passing the millage means pulling back resources.

“We have lived for far too long on one time money, which is now going away and that has created gaps," said Cantrell. “We will see actual city services diminish."

“But saying no to that three year renewal, what’s important about that is just contextually, once new property assessments came into play, it was just a tough environment to pass a tax," said Sherman.

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