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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JUL 22 The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is "a lock" to win the Sun Belt Conference in football, Fox Sports opines in this post. There's a rundown of the other teams in the conference, but ULL is predicted to win the conference, thanks in large part to an "explosive" offense. Is it football season yet?
JUL 22 Columnist Stephanie Grace says Gov. Bobby Jindal may be meeting with state education officials (hey - you mean HIS education officials, don't you, Steph?) but it is clear he's not looking for a solution in the Common Core fracas. Bobby wants an issue he can take on the road, and this one seems to be it, she says.
JUL 22 Columnist Jim Beam finds recent news out of Baton Rouge depressing. It seems every time you turn around there's another mess being uncovered or announced in state government, he says. Say what you want about Congress; in Louisiana we have nothing to brag about, either, he says.
JUL 22 Blogger Tom Aswell reports here that several legislators plan to ask for an investigation of the last-minute action that bumped State Police Commander Mike Edmonson's annual retirement income by $30K. One is gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards, who says he did vote for the amendment, but didn't read it - as he rarely does during the last hours of session.
JUL 22 This is a fascinating piece in the Picayune about the murder of a doctor in her St. Charles Avenue home 50 years ago. It's fascinating because of the mysteries and myths that have swirled around the incident for those decades, and because of the possible connection to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There are a lot of interesting names in here, including Ochsner and Marcello, and as usual the comments below the story are nearly as entertaining as the story itself.
JUL 22 LaPolitics examines the news that a bipartisan group of legislators filed court papers Monday asking a judge to decide if BESE followed proper procedure in installing Common Core as the curriculum to be followed by state teachers. The allegation is that BESE didn't do that, by failing to open a comment period and shirking legislative oversight. Great, but where were these guys back when the decision was actually made?
JUL 22 Here's a love letter from New York Daily News' Alex Palmer to Louisiana. In some ways it is the typical tourism article (with pronunciation guides and food definitions) but in another way it goes beyond that to list lesser-known spots to visit for food or tours.
JUL 22 This post on Gambit is an interesting look at an age-old discussion among people who live and work in urban areas - is graffiti property damage or public art? There are a lot of voices in this story, covering a lot of the bases of this conflict.
JUL 21 Education Week's EdWatch blog takes a look at our current snafu over Common Core in this post. To anyone outside the state, we certainly look like a bunch of dummies who can't agree on something as critical as what to teach our kids. That's good - right?
JUL 21 Rob Marciano, a former meteorologist at KPLC in Lake Charles, has been named senior weather guy at ABC, this post on TVNewser reports. In between those gigs he worked for CNN and Entertainment Tonight.
JUL 21 This story on The ABC out of Australia gives Louisiana some international notoriety that we really don't want. According to this story, Louisiana is one of the fastest-disappearing land masses on the planet. The planet. So, obviously we need to hold off on that levee board suit, because making Big Oil mad is much more serious than this.
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