"We've got some fabulous properties that are subject to 'zero' property taxes in the city of New Orleans," Councilwoman Stacy Head said at Monday's budget hearing.
The idea of increasing the tax applied to electric bills in New Orleans resurfaced Monday during the first city council hearing on next year’s budget, suggested as a possible route to lessen the amount that property taxes will have to be raised to pay for expanded city services next year.
District B Councilwoman Stacy Head told the rest of the council that her idea is not yet a fully-formed proposal, but that placing part of next year’s tax increase on Entergy customers – rather than property owners – could spread the burden of next year’s budget among a far wider swath of people in New Orleans. Such a tax increase would reach not only renters, Head said, but also nonprofits, churches, universities and other institutions that pay no property tax but do pay electric bills.
“This is a way that every store, every rental, every homeowner, every church, every educational institution — everyone uses utilites, and this is a way to have the hook in everyone, as opposed to a small subset of the city of New Orleans,” Head said (See video of the budget hearing; utility tax discussion begins 2 hours, 56 minutes into video). “It seems more equitable — should it be possible — to me.” Continue reading »