WWL>Topics>>5-5-14 3:10pm Angela: on the state of NOLA

5-5-14 3:10pm Angela: on the state of NOLA

May 5, 2014|

Angela talks about the state of the city and the future of New Orleans with UNO political scientist Dr. Ed Chervenak, business leader Greg Rusovich, and new city council president Stacy Head.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well it's a new day for the mayor and City Council as they were all sworn in for a new four year term during a ceremony this morning at the -- theater. The last four years have been one of great accomplishment. But also of continuing financial struggles. What should we expect in the next four here to talk about it is our new president of the New Orleans City Council Stacy head. Political analyst doctor Ed Sherman act and civic and business leader Greg -- -- thank you thank you and thank you for being here. An important -- I think we all think about this and say four years ago it was a very different picture. It was the BP oil spill we are still clamoring after the storm. And I think we would all agree that some pretty amazing things have happened in the last four years but we still face. We still face problems and the first one being perhaps money. Bomb. And we can talk about all the glorious things but I think we really need to address. We don't have enough money we have to consent decrees we have the fireman's pension. What are we gonna do. What are we going to do. Well this is where the mayor. As the chief executive he's gonna have to be creative in terms of finding some additional revenue sources. Or trying to. Bring out more efficiency in the in the budget in the delivery of services and and that's basically its only real choices is if you got to increase revenue. We've got to reduce spending elsewhere. To fund that the consent decrees and the overdue pension obligations. The mayor has spent time in the last few weeks up in Baton Rouge. Suggesting various tax proposals that we will vote on. But it has to go through that to through the legislature first. Are those realistic. -- well blog. First I think what. Date may be realistic I think what we need to focus on Angela is we cannot take any step up when you increase taxes which you wanna make sure that you don't do. If you wanna make sure that you don't negatively affect private sector employment. You wanna make sure that you don't affect growth if you have growth in certain sectors you don't wanna increase taxes and her growth. And you don't wanna -- Twain -- where you do so hoping that where you take an action that stops people from coming into the city. Because of course what we have such a crown jewel here in the city. You don't wanna take any action that deters people from coming in and spending money in the city you don't want to deter some global from Communist you don't want to deter major business groups from coming in a major you know major art conventions -- -- So you have to do that tax and a very broad based way. And you have to do it in the manner where everyone is paying their share and you just don't wanna do it in some way that -- -- or which drops. President of the council Stacy congratulations. Thank you. You fight the battle every day and half for the last ten years eight years I can't believe that -- and yet it keeps rearing its ugly head so so what SA council. Are you looking well I have to say I don't know that there's ever been in government anytime anywhere and it's -- we have planning -- money. It's OK I mean government always whining we don't have enough money to do all the things limited. So we are not in that being we're not in in so much of a different place than probably everybody stealth like they were in. -- fits throughout the history of the city to New Orleans -- that said we do have some unique and unprecedented. Large expenditures that we're gonna have to figure out how to make it next year. Are not over the next year but -- get began to pay over the next year. An and I think it. Certainly we have to look at it globally if you look at what's going on and admiration the incident in Portland race. They are not immediate taxes what they arts is the ability for New Orleans to. Tax itself in ways that may be more appropriately than the race. Number one to create an economic zone. Around any new development downtown that would allow us as a city to -- the -- -- tell Mattel taxes that come to the city right now. -- at a real -- -- because that is taxes that can do that -- tourists pay which so delight to have that alliance year is 90% percent. Go to other entities other agencies including state. And don't come to our city's general fund coffers so creating a zone that would allow us keep more of those tax dollars in New Orleans is a great -- That two attacks is related specifically to police and fire. In my opinion those kind of taxes we should have more. And frankly the property at lower taxes that we have right now these are taxes and not -- at homestead exemption. It applies to every single property in the city New Orleans that subject to property taxes which set -- -- to I love to talk about that -- property -- and property taxpayer -- big issue for me but it -- is the ability as a city to decide do we want team. Hi an increase to every single taxable property in the city of New Orleans to fulfilling obligations that we have with DJ -- And with. Beefing up in a PD and fulfilling that consent decree and acting again this three measures are are. Once that I believe in and -- -- -- as a city can debate that to determine whether or not something we do it's not a guarantee tax. But it's the ability to bring it home and to have that conversation amongst our citizens and -- me ask only because. In in reading about it it is for police fired -- But the consent decrees will end one day. At some point but if we do past attacks attacks would continue just so that we would be able to have a healthier. The flow of money for police and fire. You know I presume we depend a sunset on it I don't know why we do against his acting at that kind of tax is more equitable. In my opinion and that taxation system that we have -- Properties that pay property tax -- now. -- With everything in government one of the problems is and this is the problem not continue to have. If we raise one tax and we increase. The income the revenue side. I believe we should reduce the revenue side. In another place and we don't tend to do. And we did it to some extent after the storm wind we had citywide. Tax. Reevaluation. And the global. Gross value of the properties in city new loans went up dramatically and we roll analogy is back pretty dramatically but since and we creeped up. I have a problem with that in general I'm not saying get that many of the times you've done that haven't been. Am absolutely necessary. But we -- increase revenue from one source say for example the police and fire Millen it's to dedicated to police and fire. We should have a condenser reduction or at least. A stunt team of increases in any other type of at a lower property tax and I think everybody. Understood that we we have a new system now -- setter setter but I'm also getting a sense that people are feeling very text. But no I I would agree that especially homeowners. Are feeling a sense of tax fatigue. That it's certainly the mayor came the forces residents and citizens -- -- for a tax increase and received it and in people. -- benefit of the doubt because he made the argument look we've got this hundred million dollar budget deficit. We want to be able to move forward and and Lenovo. Cut back services if you give me this revenues and that was the deal. And he was able to make it. But the continually come back. And that's more taxes becomes progressively more difficult because people say look we we we you raise tax and a sorority. You're coming back from war are there any other sources where you can receive this revenue. Well maybe that's a good place to break because I like Stacy would like to discuss perhaps another source right after this stay with us it was the talk about the future of New Orleans. And I appreciate you called Dextre we will definitely get to stay with its. So happy to have the new council president Stacy head. Political analyst and Sherman act with UN now and Greg Russa at one of the top business leaders. As we look forward to the next four years and issues that this community faces. Again I wanna say a lot has been accomplished in four years and everybody talks about it feels good about it. But we have these areas of great need and one of the right now is money. And not so how do we as we left off how do we get more money into this community. Each -- -- this discussed about. Taxing and those. Possibilities. But there are other things too when I'm looking great we will open. One thing Angela it's really important is growth. We have to you we've got a very effective economic development delivery -- -- system now and no business slots so and working it very much of partnership with you know link I think -- bring more business into the city and making sure that we have the right foundation to bring those businesses in the suit which I think we have a more -- -- So we have to get to is really recruit more businesses retain more businesses employment growth we have more jobs that will obviously stimulate the tax base. So which you always wanted to do would governments always wanna do is grow their way out what they shouldn't wanna do -- -- their way out of any beneath our deficit issue you normally. Do that through parts sector growth is that would generate revenue coming into the government. So that's one thing we've got to do stay very laser focused on growth growth growth in the private sector present instantly tax revenue drop so that's one thing with him don't. Just getting back to its face is -- -- -- very good one on the economic development zone. Which are discussing I think taking that zone because there's going to be a lot of development coming up from the world trade cellar to the smokestacks and if you go to the river. And if you take that whole area and make them an economic development zone where anything if you could pass legislation the state level track and we could do. That then pitcher sterling what can we do this at the state I think that is one thing we could do with the state is have that economic development zone where any new revenue. That's generated from the future of the World Trade Center. From any hotel it's develop down the river from any of that growth error in the convention so any of that whole region. That the whole tax revenue goes to the city. So that's something else that could be developed the whole economic development zone or in the inevitable river court. It would -- and what is the problem with the World Trade Center. We have been talking about the development since I was a child to him well and of course -- you know while worked in a forum for thirty years great building and I think we will develop that there is that it group community leadership is really working they're a group of community leaders working for tenaciously to try to come up with a solution with the man. Who's been a very strongly on this. To try and come up with the right solution for the world traits on our. And I think that will wind up happening and I think it will be really good for the city and really good for the community so there -- some good brainstorming ideas going on that. Seem to have some shops and second work pulling it back to all of our guest but I -- take some of our callers Dexter you've been holding on thank you. Yeah -- care of them were quote be sure to thank you all. -- look at the situation like oh lord. That is -- what we. Went or is for what they already taxes added. They were collected. I look at that. Small businesses. Code integrity keep them at expert W built -- into the city. Are the aboard the orbital flight school who don't like many -- the law. And an important. Fall. Yeah -- saw the barriers to the well well well. This should default on our you've been married now you'll know it -- -- data they collect the taxes that we can. An -- or what that statement that the money. And I know what we have these big. Exit the 300 million. Economic impact. Will do. A lot of these very then is that that keeping money and call it a big outfield. Call police and that it reported true. -- valuable. -- -- It would what you're really saying Dexter is that that the money is out there we just need to collect and may not drop the ball. We are dropping OK -- hand has a comment. I did give the administration and some credit for that number of audits that they had done it -- got to the point of sometimes being more aggressive than it frankly should. With. With sales tax audits of businesses around the city. They had people they have people at that trade shows like Helen -- chance they had people at the French market corporation and a regular basis and people Jazz Fest. So they are really Al they're doing a lot of random audits and I'll also do audits if they get a ten. So to the extent teaching and with any businesses that are not reporting that are keeping beer taxes -- extra revenue. Please let the revenue department and I'd actually ready let my office now and my email is it my email addresses as head. At city -- -- dot com and militant albums are. On the day here's. S had a militant god please let me know because I will absolutely make sure that that eerie it is businesses etc. get audited. You bring up a very good point and I appreciate you calling in -- very very much John in Metairie. Question into about via the distribution. Of the state action how much does. The cities and municipalities. Collect a tax and keep. For regular taxes we keep I think four point five cents. They remainder of get used to states. School gore -- I think isn't as small. Percentage that they'd been against other places that we get about four point five cents so. We don't get its that full nine and a half cents and then on the hotel motel tax to get much less than -- OK to question -- distribution. As distribution. Experts. You're there what used to be. Increasing taxes are higher. So it should -- -- an ample. Her own march. Those -- anyway. Transparency purposes. A public could be ensured that the money that those apartments a car league yet they can change cheap yet unit Jewish. -- -- -- To supplement that now what does it all all of the one. I don't like united. Alan I just say it it it is very difficult to track has. You could lead and let's let's be cynical firm and we could as a city increased attacks is for police and fire. And -- reduce the amount of money from the general fund that we dedicate to police and fire next year so that could happen and it really. Don't wait we stop that if you had he had engaged. Honest elected officials who have been engaged media who will report as beings and most importantly how to engage public and it says no. We we're very clear if and when we increase taxes for specific purpose. We didn't mean -- -- she's a shell game to move money around we wanted -- add money to to those particular departments but it's really on you it's on me and it's on the media. A lot of supporters cynicism exists. Public nobody. Could go 00. Increased access -- will -- -- and -- -- It's actually an -- purpose boat. Well it -- it means to -- crystal clear. Exactly where the money's -- ago and the budgets that were previously decided will not change. I mean just super clear I really appreciate your thoughts John thank you very much. It away again and we're fine tuning a city that is on a roll. And I think we all need to say that out loud -- every day it's it's had its good times. But in yet we've done so many shows here what we've talked to neighborhoods with the lighting it's such a big issue with apostles are still a big issue. And there are just there's just not enough money. Week we just wanna be better. And so getting more money in at this stage is probably the number one priority. Whether police and fire or those lifestyle issues. No I think that's right I think that clearly the city is making great progress right now. And what we want don't wanna do is have a deficit issue that we can't climb out of and we wanna make sure that we get adequate revenues and I think there's general agreement amongst most parts of the community that the the question is how to best get this revenues and the questions always is that. You wanna try to limit any type of tax increase that you do. And you -- really try to focus on growth you wanna make sure that any tax increase does not -- the private sector were damaged job growth. On which would do is further hurt the deficit. All but clearly I think there it's a revenue to -- and thought the same time we also have to make sure that what we have approved for example we approved a 150 officers are really applaud -- error in the council president had. For doing at being the year authorizing and spending 450 more police officers. But here we are was six months into it are approved five months into it and we have I think 1990 police officers. So we really have to work on -- on clogging that a bottleneck. Is there's a bottleneck there in background checks and civil service and we're doing this I mean that's all been recognized and that's now happening and we got. So merged with all these applications originally and didn't were not prepared to come out of it now we all are so expect progress. But yes and the residents say it -- -- the resident a lot the residency as well applaud the council called the mayor on applaud them Arab leadership there are helping with that and we've also got now under the consent decree primarily. We also have on the situation with the tails which is hurting more now on the -- force. -- so you have a group of those of police issues and a PD that we we've got a result we have the right police chief and and chiefs are present and our judgment. And are we just need to keep make progress on these issues I think we are. Stay with -- we'll be right back our special guest at the new president of the City Council Stacy head. Doctor Ed Sherman act of UN now and Greg Russa bitch from the business what every business group. Let's talk about we're gonna have a new council. And how that you think will affect the coming years. It's gonna be great the manic energy and in -- council chambers today was amazing. We have people from a lot of different backgrounds which -- are going to help us do a better job. And and the voters are very clear they wanted a council that is thoughtful that is hard work that is independent. And secret going to be that while we are all constructively in the city. And sure Bernanke's making his head. -- one when the -- is reelected people were reaffirming his leadership and it was status quo election. In the run off people were looking for change in the city counts so there's kind of two voices and we like what you doing mr. mayor but we'd like to see. Some different voices. And different perspectives on the City Council and so -- you know. We also have a lot of new faces. Basically confronting a lot of the same problems and we'll see what kind of solutions they come up. And from our business community will with I think that there is good confidence are completely agree I think that's great confidence in the -- City Council and off think it's exciting and I think work business community work very well with the new council and -- views and not -- applause nothing this good opportunity here. I hate keep harping on on the money issue but. We were talking about the police we winning more place -- we need more police and it is very complex issue would isn't just a matter of let's just put out with that. Jobs it's a very complex and and yet we've done enough programs with the police unions and other. People concerned. That they they do their morale issues you brought up on Greg about the detail issue. Which has got to just got to be change. And we opened the paper and see that there are losing money. Mean -- thought of -- at if you council members drafted into action that the history is accurately report it. They were a couple of council -- that was one of them he -- was theory concerned with the -- -- -- -- process was set -- and I actually went to the Justice Department directly. Communication with the Justice Department's not always been. Easy a lot of parties in and questions about whether or not we -- reported party -- The way it was put together -- was -- -- senate in the first place my. Suggestion in request early on ways that'd be housed in an independent anti sort of like. With the police justice foundation and me act as the broker and mediator than it entity that really makes it work. And that wasn't in -- that was not. Even seriously considered and now happening the accuracy what are we gonna do what with the Justice Department allow institute says that we can't. Allow our businesses because a lot of businesses -- theory and happy that they have officers and you're comfortable with it and that they believe understand the -- your businesses work. And provide the safety that they need and of course even more importantly than. Officers that rely on this being a portion of the your yearly income aren't able to rely on the -- war. And are greatly looking at it when outside of work. There is that and then there's also three the bigger issue. I mean this is a wishlists. What if you didn't have to have a detail what if you were paid enough. Where a detail might be four hours a week and not twenty to sixty hour week. And you want people to be sharp and alert. And you're saying you will match 220 hours -- adamant that sixty hours. What -- and again there were talking how or we -- the John if we didn't have the incentive recently finally pay him off. But realistically. Could we ever pay police enough where that was not an issue. Where their focus would be on their job. I think we should -- I mean there's no question we all would agree. That we should do that and we should work toward that whether that is realistic in the next eighteen months to two years but it is something that. I certainly am and boarding committed to doing over the long haul we're supposed to get and man power on it from. The inspector general any day now keep waiting with bated breath to get that man power on it because my hope -- that it says that we actually have. More police officers in nine. The law enforcement or nine safety type positions that we can use on the streets are giving example of I asked the police chief about six months ago if we can have for the people who who are in the district's. We can have 89. Commissioned officer and as civilian. Operate that is that a clerical type job and he brought PowerPoint and some stats that said it would actually cost us more. -- took -- to civil service to double check that is accurate it was actually completely inaccurate. It was about 50%. Of what it would cost for police officer to sit in that spot. So we can save money by hiring civilians. To sit and is desks. During the day when in just routine. Matters that are occurring at the cops on the entries you have three. Yet yet. In each district you have three shifts so that would be three officers to compete on the streets to make our city state -- so. Those kind of things I'm looking forward to you with. Our story not as bleak as we think it is right now with regard -- did just the wrong numbers officers that we need a -- we need to hear that. We -- because it is bleak when you think a city decides not enough let's take another break we'll be right back. Over looking forward to the future but the future really is now and we've been talking about issues that we need to address. But we also have some very exciting -- seven look let's let's look forward all all of the great gruesome pitch well I think. One of the big exciting things are we from the business community perspective we've been working on and prioritizing is giving international airlift into on New Orleans if you look around -- -- airports in Austin his international flight connectivity to Europe. -- Tampa has international flight collectively Europe. It to me is really objectionable to have to get on the plane and warnings to have to fly to Atlanta Atlanta the home of the falcons awful place -- have to fly to your army -- We should have a direct flight to Europe or to the UK from beer -- way they're 85000 rates. That come here every year 85000. So it's our number one population that comes here. On this a great business case to be made with energy right now with the bio medical cord or with tourism blossoming in booming right now. -- the UK visitors and European business would love to come here and even go to the Pensacola beach as we've been marketing this both with Florida and with Alabama to be able to go to golf sure is now and then -- -- without. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- To really try to yet international -- directly particularly in the -- We're making progress. But we're going to need a real push at some point probably with the state to get an act for financial boost from the state and from region. And so that work on and on its full of that would be really hopeful when nothing is wonderful step -- for the city game changer it's thinking yeah exactly. -- -- Yeah I think. What's exciting years at this administration's gonna take -- into the city straight Centennial. Celebration and they think a lot of people are going to be focused on that. You mentioned in my medical quarter of the hospital in the east also the development of the airport. To make new world wants a world class destination -- and so we're and seemed lots of people come and visit us for years from now. And so I think this administration in the City Council will be focused there's that's their goal make sure there were much further ahead in our progress by the time we -- 300 years old. And this president. Now I'm quite high on the city I think we've got a lot of assets we've got a lot of reasons to be confidence. Am but I would just like to touch on the economic development issue because. I think the most important economic development tool for business. Is. To have a good quality of life for the residents and businesses who live here right now to be safe city to have street signs street lights streets. And have a friendly and easy to maneuver government. Because of all of the exciting things that Greg was talking about it happening in the city of New Orleans we have people -- can -- to live in your talents and yes we would love to have better airline traffic being able to get an in an out when NASA -- With technology now people can live anywhere they wanted to -- New Orleans because it's such a great place to be. And it it is and it's only going to get better. And not on uplifted by everything that is happening I really him. -- we just have to continue to acknowledge that the problems there and and focus on the and we are stay with -- the one we'll be right back. I want to thank doctor Ed Sherman Mac and Greg Russa pitch but to our new president the -- Stacy head just a final thought from you on your hopes. Well hope that I can spend -- final four years on the City Council completing some of the things they started. Related primarily to light reduction in its neighborhood investment neighborhood and quality of life improvement. And really just outlook and looking forward to serving with this new council and with the mayor to make New Orleans when he needs before. That importance. Anniversary. Thank you all for being here thank you so much.