LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was in Lafayette Wednesday to meet with Acadiana lawmakers.
She spoke about proposed legislation, that would re-negotiate the amount of tax money New Orleans sends to State Tourism Commissions.
Cantrell says any extra money the Crescent City receives, would go towards funding various infrastructure improvements in her city.
She wants to ween the city of New Orleans off of State Tax dollars, so more State money can go around to other regions in the state.
“If we can ensure that the economic engine as it relates to hospitality, continues to bear fruit, then again, that’s a win win for the state of Louisiana,” said Mayor Cantrell.
She’s looking for ways her city can come up with more money for infrastructure.
“The Food and Beverage Tax, which is Orleans Parish only. It was created as a tax, to promote the enhancement or really the development of the 4th phase of the Convention Center that never happened. As a result of that, it has been accumulating revenue at a scale of $11.5 million a year.
Cantrell says the city of New Orleans only receives about 10% of Orleans Parish’s Hospitality Tax.
But she says that four City Tourism related Commissions, get 70%.
Cantrell wants to rework the deal, so the city gets a bigger percentage of the tax.
“If we create revenue streams to where the City of New Orleans can direct towards infrastructure, it will then alleviate or eliminate the city’s need to focus on state dollars,” said Cantrell.
“If New Orleans can care for itself, then we can get for ourselves, to make sure our state is run correctly,” said State Representative Vincent Pierre, District 44.
He says the money New Orleans doesn’t rely on from the state, can be used for infrastructure in Lafayette and other parishes.
“We’re $13 billion in backlog in transportation projects. We need a lot of new projects, as it relates to asphalt, resurfacing of highways, those are things we could use right here in District 44,” said Pierre.
“We really need dollars, to focus on infrastructure our people need,” said Cantrell.
Cantrell’s proposal will likely be controversial, because it involves taking money away from City Tourism Commissions, and no one wants to part with their share.
Another concern is, what would stop another municipality from doing the same thing the City of New Orleans would be doing?
This year’s Legislative Session begins on Monday, April 8.