Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My mayor playin' tricks on me

It sounds like Edward Blakely isn't the only tippler working at City Hall (when in town):
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said Monday that the 2009 operating budget he will present today to the City Council will call for a slight reduction in city spending next year but a 10-mill increase in the property tax rate to bring in an additional $24.5 million.
One mill equals $1 of tax per $1,000 in assessed value, or $10,000 in actual value. A 10-mill increase would cost the owner of a house worth $200,000 an extra $125 a year, after the homestead exemption allowance.

That doesn't sound like much, but there are a few things to consider. The most obvious is that the $75,000 homestead exemption covers more than a third of the increase on a $200,000 house, but there's no exemption on either rental property or commercial real estate. A millage increase would be yet another burden for home owners, but the added cost would be about twice as much for business owners and would slow the return of rents to their pre-Katrina levels. Also, a 10-mill increase would wipe out more than a fifth of last year's adjustment* designed to keep the re-assessments revenue neutral. Since the re-assessments reflect sale prices from the top of a bubble, it's reasonable to question whether most New Orleans homes are over-assessed already.

It's fucked up when your mayor is playing tricks on you. However, Fielkow and Hedge-Morrell sound serious about looking at every component of the budget to find other ways to replenish the emergency fund. I'd suggest that they start by asking why New Orleans is paying more money to the same companies for the same services than its more prosperous neighbor to the west.

*From the same article:
Laumann, a dispatcher for a trucking company, said he'll probably have to raise the rent on his tenant, Tee Eva's restaurant, which has been leasing the front of his building for about 20 years.

How about trimming those take-home cars for low-level city employees? That'd save some bucks.

Glad you brought up the effect this would have on renters. As a small-time (as in 3 units) landlord, I have tried tried tried to keep my rents low, but I have absorbed every cost I can. If the property taxes go up, my rents will have to increase as well.
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