April 19th, 2012
Here we are, once again in the eleventh hour, facing a new bill being pushed in the state legislature that we knew nothing about. Senate Bills 473, 573, 608 (sponsored by Ed Murray, J.P. Morrell) and House Bill 967 (sponsored by Helena Moreno and Walt Leger) just hit the insider’s radar last Friday and the public radar yesterday via Bruce Eggler’s column in the TP.
The public is just hearing of this bill a week out before it would go to committee. Why is that? Why is a bill this important, one that will affect every citizen in this city, just now reaching the public’s attention?
This “urgent”, “has to happen” bill would create a new taxing zone, the “New Orleans Hospitality and Entertainment District”. It’s essentially another DDD on steroids emcompassing “hospitality” areas of the city. What are those areas? Well…the hospitality “stakeholders” will decide that as needed, in perpetuity, and you, the citizen, will be informed after those decisions are made for you. If your French Quarter, Marigny, Treme, Warhouse District, or 7th Ward house happens to end up in their “Hospitality Zone” you will be expected to comply with the agenda, resistance is futile.
But for now, we have to do this because Superbowl is coming up next year and we will be totally fuck’snu’d if we don’t pass it now!
Are you nervous?
The general pitch for the bill would essentially create a new taxing district and new layer of government in the city. 11 million dollars of the expected new revenue would be split 50/50 between the city’s two tourism marketing entities, NOMCVB and NOTMC. That additional 11 million is on top of their current income and would be used only for marketing. That amount is an estimated 1.5% of the new 1.75% additional hotel/motel tax. The remaining .25% would go towards “infrastructure” and “quality of life” enhancements in the newly created district.
Let’s take a look at what the primary objectives of the New Orleans Hospitality Zone and Entertainment District are (per VCPORA and French Quarter Citizens):