Friday, August 21, 2009

Then, we'll securitize the city debt and sell credit derivatives

If Thursday's headline about the city budget came as a surprise to you, you haven't given much thought to the city's financial situation. Earlier this year, there seemed to be chance that a post-Katrina reconstruction boom would hide the extent of the city's financial difficulties for a couple of years, but there was also reason to doubt that federal money alone could keep the city afloat. Still, the best anyone could have realistically hoped for was a couple of good years before hitting the tiffing point at some point during the next mayor's first term. But it was soon obvious that we wouldn't even be that lucky, especially since the local tourism and convention industry has failed to buck that new normal trend. The sad thing is, most city council members seem to realize that the city faces real financial difficulties, but they seem to have a collective TIF addiction.

So, what makes Austin Badon think that the city has enough money to get into the business of flipping commercial real estate? In a recent appearance on WDSU, he said that the City Council should have voted to spend $8M on the Chevron Building, even though the Chevron Building would only be a temporary location for City Hall. Seriously, Badon's plan would call for buying the Chevron Building, then spending the money to build a new city hall, and then offering the Chevron Building to some company so that it would come into New Orleans and create jobs. There's no transcript that I can find, but he outlines his proposal at about the 2:30 mark of pt. 2 of his recent hot seat appearance on WDSU with Ed Murray (Pt. 1 can be found here). I also don't want to put words in Badon's mouth, but I honestly don't know why he brought up the Chevron Building in reference to racial divisions on the City Council. Does he think that at least one white council member should have voted for the mayor's plan in the interest of racial harmony?

Yet, Norman Robinson (or his producer) and Errol LaBorde have decided that Badon is a serious candidate, but James Perry isn't worth mentioning. Even a gun battle outside his campaign headquarters can't get Perry on the news, what's up with that?

Just to be clear, I'm not the "Perry bandwagon." There are a couple of things that I really like about Perry, but I also have some strong reservations. However, the reservations aren't based an utterly superficial resemblance between his candidacy and Nagin's candidacy eight years ago. I also think he deserves to be taken at least as seriously as either Austin Badon or Rob Couhig.

I agree with you. I have some reservations about Perry I need to know more. Some people I respect support some are enthusiastic.

I need to know more and he's clearly a serious about it.
"a TIF addiction"

Unfortunately, the abuse of TIFs is an epidemic, not isolated to New Orleans.
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