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Jun 02, 2006

Governor, Mayor, state officials, and concerned citizens urge support of Orleans tax assessor consolidation

BATON ROUGE, LA--Today Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Representative Austin Badon and Senator Ann Duplessis stood with over 20 civic and professional organizations to announce unified support for House Bill 642 to consolidate the seven Orleans Parish Tax Assessors offices into one. Companion legislation was overwhelmingly approved in the State Senate on May 2, 2006. 

HB 642, sponsored by Badon, will be heard on Monday, June 5 in the House Ways and Means Committee at 9:30 a.m.  Today's press conference called on the members of the Committee to pass the legislation so that it can proceed to the House floor for final legislative passage.

"This legislation will help New Orleans move forward and now is the time to get it done," said Governor Blanco. "We are in transition on many fronts and there is a strong feeling that we need to get our house in order.  This is the perfect time to do it."   

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Councilman Oliver Thomas are also in full support of HB 642.  According to the Mayor, the legislation is critical for fair and equitable assessments.  "We must create an environment that is predictable for those returning home to New Orleans and for the businesses interested in locating here," said Mayor Nagin.  "I believe the single assessor legislation will accomplish this and I fully support this measure."

If approved by a two-thirds majority in the House, this initiative will appear on the November 2006 statewide ballot. "Passage of this bill is really about giving Louisiana citizens their right to vote," stated Ruthie Frierson, Chairman of the Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans.  She continued, "We believe that consolidating the assessors in New Orleans will result in a system that provides fair and equitable assessments to all and sends a signal to Washington and to the rest of the country that politics-as-usual are a thing of the past in Louisiana."

The numerous supporting organizations endorsing the legislation represent diverse interests and varied constituencies across the state. "The range of groups here today proves that this is an issue that hits home with anyone interested in improving our system of government," said Jay Lapeyre Citizen for 1 Greater New Orleans volunteer and chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. 

All participants in today's press conference encouraged citizens from around the state to contact their representatives about the need to pass HB 642 on Monday. The organizations also committed to join the Governor for Monday's committee vote on the legislation.

Those organizations in support of one Orleans assessor include: Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), Business Council of New Orleans of New Orleans and the River Region.  Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), Committee of 100, Committee for a Better New Orleans/Metropolitan Area Committee (CBNO/MAC), Common Cause/Louisiana, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Louisiana, IQ Ticket, Jefferson Business Council, League of Women Voters of New Orleans, Louisiana Association of Realtors, Louisiana Leadership Initiative (LLI), New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, NOLa One Voice, New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors (NOMAR), North Shore Business Council, Public Affairs Research Council (PAR),  St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce, The Urban Conservancy, The World Trade Center of New Orleans, Young Leadership Council.

Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans is a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization committed to the reform and renewal of greater metropolitan area and a better Louisiana. 


September 2006