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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DEC 20 The Robertson family is playing hardball in their dispute with A&E, the network that airs the wildly profitable "reality" show about their family, Duck Dynasty. Patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended by the network after GQ printed an interview with him that contained his (unedited) comments about gay and black folks. Here's a link to their statement, in which they say they can't imagine the show without papa and announcing that they are in negotiations with A&E about the future of the show.
DEC 20 Blogger Robert Mann (also a journalism prof at LSU and thus an authority on the First Amendment) says something in this post of which a lot of Fox News anchors and internet trolls should take heed: the Constitution says you have freedom of speech. It does not say you can't face consequences for what you say. He also takes a look at what our governor has to say -- and ole Bobby had to drag Miley Cyrus into it.
DEC 20 Blogger Tom Aswell says Governor Bobby Jindal has now had more to say about the comments a "reality" star made about gay and black people than he has had to say about the problems in his own voucher program or the sinkhole in Bayou Corne. In fact, Tom points out, Bobby's all over the Phil Robertson "issue" like "a duck on a June bug."
DEC 20 Here's an interesting post from blogger Katie East in DIG Magazine about celebrity passings. She understands why so many would be sad because of Mandela's passing -- he was an international figure, a political figure, an activist. But there is similar wailing following the passing of people who may not have had the same impact, she says -- like the guy who starred in the Fast and Furious movies. She wants to know: why is that?
DEC 20 Columnist James Gill writes about Louisiana's embattled voucher program in this post. Just because a child attends a private school does not mean he's going to get a good education, Gill writes. Gov. Jindal likes to say the program helps kids get a great education, but whether it does that is open to "considerable doubt," Gill writes.
DEC 20 Gambit's Clancy DuBos writes about the NOLA mayor's race in this post. For a while, it was assumed that it would be a quiet one, given the amount of money Mitch has in the bank. But at the last minute, a (possibly) formidable candidate threw his hat in the ring. The question is, Clancy says, why?
DEC 20 In Louisiana's education system, the state takes over a school that is designated as "failing." The assumption is, that's a good thing and will produce improvement. But is that the case? Blogger Mike Deshotels takes a look at how takeovers perform in one area of testing, the ACT.
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