Monday, April 14, 2014

Or we could do just a wee bit less marketing

The city is asking the state legislature to help stave off a budget crunch imposed by costs stemming from the police and prison consent decrees as well as the firefighters' pension fund. To do this they're asking for an increase the police and fire property tax millage,  an increase in the cigarette tax, and, of course, the ever popular hotel/motel tax.
State Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans, is sponsoring House Bill 1083 that would allow New Orleans voters to decide whether to add another 1.75 percent levy to the the hotel tax. The current rate of hotel taxes is 16.44 percent, said Stephen Perry, president and chief executive officer of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. The new rate of 18.19 percent would give New Orleans the second highest hotel tax rate among top tourism cities, after New York City, he added.

Hotel patrons already saw 1.75 percent added to their bill last year after the hotel industry approved a voluntary surcharge on rooms to pay for tourism marketing, which the Legislature authorized.

Brossett estimated his proposed tax would raise $13 million to $18 million per year for the city. It, too, has yet to get a legislative hearing.

Brossett said the tax presents a good alternative to budget cuts.
The "voluntary marketing surcharge" is already on top of a hotel/motel tax which is dedicated in very large part to entities spend a great deal of their budget on  promoting tourism.   Maybe if we could just take some of that money and rededicate it, we wouldn't have to bump up the taxes quite so much.

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