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Maybe not new boss same as old, but fooled again

A new revelation from Bossier City’s contracted city engineer relating to a state grant and a water deal between the city and Port of Caddo-Bossier may explain why a City Council majority passed the deal despite numerous red flags at least one of its members seemed to miss, as part of campaign pursued by the Port, contractor Manchac Consulting Group, and the Republican Mayor Tommy Chandler Administration.

It’s frustrating to me, and perhaps repetitive if not boring to readers, to have to go through this again, because the facts outlined below have been discussed time and time and time and time and time again, and well in advance of the Apr. 4 meeting that approved the deal. But it all necessarily deserves another look as a consequence of statements made at the last, Apr. 18, Council meeting shedding light on the possibility that a strategy of ambiguity engaged in by several parties with a vested interest in seeing the deal go through sought to steer, and seemingly successfully did, skeptical councilors away from a true and full understanding of the deal’s implications.

By now, details of the water deal are familiar: the Port would issue bonds to pay for a water facility for distribution and treatment that Bossier City would run, which would commit itself to a long-term liability equal to the total cost of the bond issue for the right to run it and keep all revenues past costs once that amount had been reached. While the deal would last 40 years, the obligation to rebate (legally necessary because of city ordinances that don’t let the city treat customers in the same water/sewerage class differentially in rates charged) would begin only if and when the city drew a single drop of water from the plant, which could be years into it.


Decree ready to take toll on Arceneaux fortunes

The issue of which no Shreveport mayoral candidate would speak now threatens to exact its toll on the nascent Republican Mayor Tom Arceneaux Administration.

Almost a decade after the city entered into a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, it finds itself in an increasingly deteriorating situation. With an end date at the tail end of his term – in fact, right around the election for the next – it’s far behind on the work to replace aging infrastructure that threatens water quality and wastewater treatment; so far, in fact, that Arceneaux revealed the city is getting ready to be hit with a $4 million fine for dilatoriness.

Progress drags because the remediation continues to escalate. The final price tag, which started with an estimate of $350 million, now has tripled and the work isn’t nearly complete. Of the 64 identified critical projects as of nearly the end of last year, only a quarter have been finished. An eighth only have started the planning stage.


Don't revive costly, wasteful LA film tax credit

The lobbying has begun in earnest for Louisianans to continue the equivalent of flushing their tax dollars down the toilet with Republican Speaker Clay Schexnayder’s HB 562.

Not only would the bill allow the Motion Picture Investors Tax Credit to continue past fiscal year 2025 it also would make it open-ended, where it currently has a limit of $150 million issued a year (with $180 million redeemable in a year). The credit allows for reimbursement of expenses in film or television production anywhere from 25 to 55 percent of expenses from a base amount of $50,000 to $300,000 on state income taxes; alternatively, these may act as a refundable credit at 90 cents to the buck (which is how the vast majority of the payout occurs given that few beneficiaries principally do business in the state).

The law requires an analysis every couple of years, and over the two decades of the credit’s existence those have shown it to be a black hole spending far more taxpayer dollars than what was returned to state and local governments, costing the state well over a billion dollars. The latest returned the typical dismal numbers for fiscal years 2021-22: total tax dollars collected were about an eleventh of what earnings were generated door, and the return on investment for the former year was 35 cents and the latter 39 cents, meaning for FY 2022 every dollar spent saw 61 cents evaporate.


End ITEP as part of LA property tax overhaul

Republican Treas. John Schroder got told by GOP state Rep. Richard Nelson that anything you can do, I can do better. Voters need to listen to that even if legislators don’t.

Both have announced a run for governor this fall, and both have spoken publicly about something that other candidates haven’t: reform of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program. ITEP allows the state to forgive local property taxes up to ten years for a concern that builds new infrastructure.

However, the governor has veto power over those arrangements, and since Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards took office he has shaped how the program has worked by saying he will veto anything that doesn’t feature fewer years, a smaller portion written off, and approval of major local government bodies. These actions have had an indeterminate but negative impact on it: a poorly-designed report attempting to show the rules changes didn’t scare off new business failed to assess that properly but in passing indicates those did discourage new activity.