A bill that cleared the Legislature Monday and awaits Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature would allow Lafayette and five other parishes — Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and Orleans — to levy a 3 percent tax on car rentals, with the revenue generated by the tax dedicated to various enterprises in each parish, and in the case of Lafayette one agency that evidently doesn’t exist.
The major beneficiary of the tax here would be the Lafayette Airport Commission, which would receive four-sixths of the revenue. One sixth of the tax would be distributed “to political subdivisions in the parish” and the remaining sixth would be directed to the North Lafayette Redevelopment Authority, a nine-member commission created by an act of the Legislature in 2008 but one that doesn’t appear to actually exist. Although several people we spoke to in Lafayette Consolidated Government had heard of the NLRA, the consensus is that while the 2008 bill authorized its creation, since there was no funding stream for the body at the time no one bothered to make appointments. The 2008 legislation authored by then-state Sen. Donald Cravins Jr. says the appointments to the NLRA must be made within 30 days of the bill becoming law, which would have been nearly four years ago. (Appointment authority for the NLRA is in the hands of elected officials — local and state — who represent the north side of the city of Lafayette along with the Lafayette school superintendent and the Community Development Department.)
“There’s no chair, vice chair, no one in place, no one appointed at this time,” says Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who represents District 4 and has appointment authority. “I remember the hiccup was that they could create the authority but there was no funding available at that time.”
The levying of the 3 percent car rental tax would have to be approved by a public vote, which in turn must be approved through a City-Parish Council ordinance. Boudreaux says there’s been no talk among council members of writing an ordinance to authorize the public vote.
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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
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