Landrieu made these remarks at a Bureau of Governmental Research supporters’ meeting, a group often critical of the spending choices and priorities of the city and the local governments associated with it. He spun a story of constituents querying him about why basic needs get delayed if any attention at all if the city makes so much money off numerous high-profile special events, with his answer being that it’s all a mirage. Using the 2013 Super Bowl as an example, he argued, “Even though the Super Bowl is a multimillion-dollar event, this city's general fund, your bank account, only netted $500,000, barely breaking even for the army of police, fire, EMS, sanitation, public works, permitting and other city employees who work day in and day out to make sure everything went off without a hitch.” He then funneled the topic to all of his glorious achievements even if the city doesn’t make much, and concluded with a diagnosis that the state holds the city back, opining that “Something needs to change. We need to cut loose. We need to get the state out of the way, realign powers so New Orleans has the resources that we need to stand on our own two feet.”
Which is an absurd comment, for no large city in Louisiana sucks at the teat of the state taxpayer as does New Orleans. Given the data available, it’s difficult to make a comprehensive comparison, but in taking the largest area of state expenditure, health care, Orleans Parish in Medicaid spending had the most (using the latest available fiscal year 2013 data) dollars showered upon it – almost a half-billion – of any parish and the most people in the program, even though its population was smaller than both Jefferson’s and East Baton Rouge’s. Further, it ranked tenth highest in the percentage of population receiving Medicaid, with only substantially smaller jurisdictions having higher proportions. And if you want to throw in the second-largest state expense, elementary and secondary education, keep in mind that the vast bulk of spending in New Orleans on this comes directly from the state, because most schools are in it are in the Recovery School District and all of those in that will be charter schools for the foreseeable future -- with a large portion of it accruing to the New Orleans economy, and the resulting conversion into city tax revenues.