Jay Dardenne Opposes Mitch Landrieu’s Hotel Tax Hike

Jay DardenneLt. Gov. Jay Dardenne  said he opposes New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposal to increase the city’s hotel-motel tax from 16.44 percent to 18.19 percent.

In a report by the Advocate, Dardenne said the proposal by Landrieu would put the city’s hotel tax in-line with the likes of New York City.

“It would be a blow to the tourism industry in New Orleans,” Dardenne said.

If the proposed tax is implemented, New Orleans would have an effective hotel-motel tax of 18 percent, Dardenne said.

“What this does is create a hotel-motel tax rate that is on a par with New York City,” Dardenne said. The hotel-motel tax would be 50 percent higher than that in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, he said.

Dardenne said the tax would put New Orleans at “a tremendous competitive disadvantage when we’re bidding on major sporting events” such as the Super Bowl, NCAA finals and the new college football championship game, as well as conventions.

“I’m adamantly opposed to that proposition,” Dardenne said.

Dardenne told the Advocate that tourism in New Orleans would be heavily damaged if the Landrieu’s proposal were to come to fruition, citing that it would be one of the highest taxed destinations in the country.

As previously reported by the Hayride, HB1083 by Rep. Jared Brossett (D-New Orleans) would help place the tax increase on the Nov. ballot. Brossett told The Lens that the tax increase was a better option than budget cuts.

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

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.

The tax hike proposal is not the only one by Landrieu. He is also seeking to a 75 cent increase on cigarettes and other tobacco products in the city and an increase in New Orleans’ property taxes to fund the police and fire dept.

The city would need $34 million to $49 million per year to pay for the consent decrees and the pension fund. If approved, the three taxes would raise an estimated $31 million to $41 million per year. The city’s general fund budget this year is $505 million.

Taxes are a sensitive subject. It was only last month that New Orleans voters rejected the Audubon Nature Institute’s request for a 50-year property tax increase, by a 2-1 margin.

Landrieu has fretted to lawmakers privately for several weeks — the latest came during a presentation to Orleans Parish lawmakers Wednesday at the Capitol — about how difficult it will be to pay for a court ruling involving the firefighters pension fund and federal agreements regarding the Police Department and the Orleans Parish Prison. The mayor has sought relief from the courts but has lost every round.

CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Steve Perry “has made it known that he thinks increasing the hotel-motel tax is not a good idea,” according to the Advocate.

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