Monday, October 17, 2016

Year of the bang

It's city budget season, y'all.  There's an unveiling scheduled for the mayor's 2017 proposal at a press conference today. But voters have an opportunity to significantly alter the outlook by passing the a millage on the ballot next month (CORRECTION:On the December ballot) to shore up funding for the firefighters' pension settlement. We rejected that the last time around because it was tied up with a second tax meant for hiring more police. Those issues have been separated but the mayor is still intent on punishing us for not giving him his NOPD money. At least that's what this sounds like.
The main question hanging over the budget is how the administration will respond to an April vote of the people rejecting two property taxes that would have funneled $26.6 million a year to the New Orleans Police Department and the firefighters' pension system.

While the city is hoping to bring in some new revenue from other sources, without the defeated police tax the budget will include cuts aimed at providing more money to pay for NOPD expansion as well as other key priorities, Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni said.
They're also, as is their habit lately, talking about squeezing more money out of us via regressive fees much the way they did last year when they boosted rates and hours at parking meters. This article doesn't have specifics on that but its author is reporting from the revenue estimating conference this morning where we are getting some hints.

More traffic cameras

A liquor tax

They mention permit fees from the WTC development although that project is still in legal limbo for now.  Also there is this.
There is also one new stream of money that's already been approved. Officials expect a change in state law this year allowing sales tax to be collected on purchases at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome could bring in about $1 million.
I'm going to have to look this up when I have time later. But the way I remember this happening last year was the legislature almost accidentally violated Tom Benson's lease on the Superdome by making concessions there taxable during the Spring special session.  Later they had to scramble back and restore Benson's privileges. So I don't know if this new change in state law referred to above is in compliance with that fix or something different.

Update: Nevermind. Got the answer via Twitter. Athletic events are excluded from the sales tax. Figures.

Anyway, we await the mayor's budget launch speech.  His hype man says it's gonna be big.
The city is expected to provide more details on a $2.5 billion plan to repair or rebuild a substantial portion of the city's roadways over the next eight years. Much of that money will be contained in the capital budget, a separate document that outlines infrastructure spending.

"2017 is going to be the year that kicks off with a bang," Berni said.

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