New Orleans voters resoundingly voted to reject a new tax to support elderly services provided by The Council on Aging on Saturday.
The tax would have added another two mills to a property owner’s tax burden or the equivalent to $35 per year for the owner of a $250,000 home with a homestead exemption.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell had spoken out against the millage, pointing out that the Council on Aging is not accountable to the city, and that the city council had not set forth clear guidelines on how the money was to be used. Her strategy included a targeted social media campaign and direct mailings against the tax sent out by the PAC Action New Orleans.
“I unconditionally support providing more funding for our seniors, and I commend the work of the Council on Aging,” Cantrell said in a Facebook video last week. “But as a city, we cannot keep sending our tax dollars to agencies that are unaccountable to the public.”
The City Council, which supported the millage previously stated that they would determine guidelines for how the money raised by the tax should be spent after the millage was approved. The Council on Aging’s director, Howard Rodgers III also pointed out the organization’s long history of clean audits and his own personal commitment to ethical practices.
While some will likely view the nearly 2 to 1 vote against the tax a sign of the mayor’s political clout when facing off against the city council, it’s also true that votes like the ones that took place on Saturday are often lower turnout.
It’s also a fact that there is currently a very strong anti-tax sentiment among New Orleans voters, and especially with property owners already struggling with rising property taxes.
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.