Another item on our October 22 ballots is a proposal to extend a 20 mill tax on the New Orleans Regional Business Park in New Orleans East. The business park has existed since 1979 and the 20 mill tax funds about 1/3 of the $600,000 budget for the park which is home to a modest (in context of the praise it receives) 85 businesses. Only the businesses are effected by the tax. The major tenants are Folgers Coffee, Entergy, and NASA’s Michoud facility. Unsurprisingly the New Orleans City Council, lead by Jon Johnson who’s district includes the park, announced their unanimous support for this today.
Now I don’t know Councilman Jon Johnson personally, nor do I live in his district, but if I were given the chance to ask him a question, it would be this. What part of economics and common business sense says that if you add an extra special tax to an area you hope more businesses will move to, then naturally, the businesses will magically beat down your door to move in? That’s essentially what he’s saying here and here.
Instead, I offer another idea. Let’s all vote against the renewal of the tax and see what the existing businesses do to expand with the $220,000 they’ll save all together and maybe we’ll finally see some of that promised growth in the New Orleans Regional Business Park that we’ve been hearing about since 1979.
Also found in the Eggler piece is a gem of a paraphrase of Johnson, “he is heartened by the fact there appears to be no organized opposition to the renewal. In the absence of an opposition campaign, he said, tax renewals normally pass, especially if the vast majority of those voting don’t have to pay the tax.” Councilman Johnson, are you using typical New Orleans voter apathy as proof that this is a good idea? I wish I could say I was surprised. Well, while I may be late to the party in becoming an organized “opposition campaign” I am going on the record now as being just that.