Not only would a smoking ban in New Orleans by the NOLA City Council be overreaching and ‘nanny-state’ politics at its finest, but it would also be detrimental to the city’s revenue sources, according to a report by the Louisiana State Police.
Democrat New Orleans City Councilwomen Latoya Cantrell and Susan Guidry want to mandate to businesses, bars and individuals where and when they can smoke cigarettes and tobacco products.
The proposal is very similar to existing laws in liberal cities like New York, which have led to more and more city government and less and less freedom for individuals.
But, politics aside, the state police says New Orleans will lose $86 million in two years in revenue if a smoking ban ordinance is passed by the Metropolitan City Council.
“This board doesn’t have a dog in that hunt. We’re neither for nor against smoking or smokers, but I do believe the board has a responsibility since it is our duty under the law to promote economic development through gaming in this state — and gaming huge footprint in New Orleans — we have a responsibility to put in the public record what might happen if a ban in put in place,” said board chairman Ronnie Jones.
To be exact, the state police report concluded that in two years New Orleans would lose $86.4 million from gaming revenue sources and another $17.4 million in fees.
The report by the state police is solely based on projections in other states, which have seen a decrease in revenue thanks to overreaching smoking ban ordinances.
For instance, in Delaware, the state police said the state saw a 12 percent decrease in revenue after a smoking ban was enacted. And in Atlantic City, a 24 percent decrease has taken place over two years thanks to a smoking ban.
Already, Louisiana’s revenue is down 24 percent from a 2007 state-wide smoking ban in all restaurants. And for bars and hotels, revenue is down 10 percent since 2007, according to the state police report.
With crime in New Orleans on the upswing in the more tourist-y parts of the city, it is odd to see the city’s council focusing so much on an ordinance that will not promote tourism, but instead mandate what businesses and individuals can and cannot do.
Though Mayor Mitch Landrieu has not publicly commented on the smoking ban ordinance, we suspect he is on-board considering that he tried to hike cigarette taxes three times earlier this year.
The smoking ban ordinance is expected to get tons of debate on Wednesday when it comes before the city’s Community Development Committee.