Friday, 30 May 2014 11:50
The Louisiana tax free bond, unspent money and IRS saga
 

TheLensby Tyler Bridges of The Lens

Governments are better known for spending money — indeed, over-spending — than for failing to allocate available revenues.

So how come Louisiana over the past 20 years has accumulated tens of millions in unspent revenue from tax-free bonds issued to pay for state infrastructure projects?

 

As reported in The Lens two weeks ago, it’s a sum large enough to pose potential problems with the Internal Revenue Service and cost the state a hefty penalty. The IRS requires that money raised from the sale of tax-exempt bonds be spent within a certain period of time, not just placed in an interest-bearing account, as Louisiana has done.

To mitigate the problem, the Legislature has come up with a bill that would take $70 million of the unspent bond money and allocate it in the coming year to fund dozens of new or ongoing projects. The $70 million is just a portion of the accumulated total, which is perhaps $100 million higher, according to state Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, the sponsor of the legislation.

Robideaux’s House Bill 2, which contains a list of the projects eligible to be funded by tax-free bonds next year, would shift the spending. The Senate approved the bill Thursday on a 33-0 vote. It now heads to the House.

To get a feel for how the money accumulated and why it hasn’t been spent, The Lens took a look at six projects chosen at random:

Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum: $123,000 in unspent funds

The state appropriated $2.7 million in 2001 to design and construct the museum in Monroe. The $123,000 was left over and until now has not been approved to be spent on another project, said Meghan Parrish, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Administration, which oversees state construction projects. (The state is allowed to take unspent money from one project and spend it on another one.)

The museum opened in 2011, said Lorraine Slacks, its executive director, after design and construction delays. It had about 7,500 visitors in 2013, she said.

 New Orleans Museum of Art: $139,000 in unspent funds

 The state appropriated $1 million in 2002 for improvements, acquisitions, planning and construction at the museum, including the City Park entrance. The $139,000 was left over and until now has not been approved to be spent on another project, Parrish said.

Danziger Bridge: $580,000 in unspent funds

The state appropriated the $580,000 in 2004 to build ramps for traffic entering and exiting the bridge at Jourdan Road. The project was approved as a way to improve the traffic flow for commuters who live to the west of the Industrial Canal and work at the Port of New Orleans, according to the original request for the money. But none of the money has been spent, Parrish said.

State and city officials could not explain why the project has not advanced.

Read the rest of this updated article on The Lens

Media Sources

BayoubuzzSteve

Website: www.bayoubuzz.com
Login to post comments
Powered By JFBConnect
  • Cat Fights on the Hot Cement Confederate New Orleans statues
  • Ex-Saints, Bears, Bills, NFL Exec, Jim W. Miller discusses NFL Draft tomorrow
  • Trump's new plan; Curtains on tax returns release; 40% say Trump-Russia; Probing Obama admin
  • Watch Louisiana Governor Edwards talk about CAT Tax failure

catRarely, have I seen few issues that have generated as much raw heat, tension, and passion than the Confederate monuments controversy. 

Just as existed during the real civil war, where brothers battled brothers, social media is the battleground, particularly Facebook, pitting friend against friend.

On one side of the tense divide, there are those who are protecting the New Orleans civil war era monuments.  Burnt in effigy, forever, is the symbol of Mayor Mitch Landrieu for up-ending what the monument protectors consider to be the loving civil society of New Orleans.

Lately, events have turned somewhat militaristic.

Some protectors of the Confederate monuments have been staying vigilant, in person and online, even surveilling during the wee hours of the morning, waiting for the next Mayor Landrieu attack. On Sunday morning, with protections of snipers, masked workers and a dumbstruck audience, the worst of all of the monuments was cut and carried., the Liberty Monument. 

Read More

miller nfl live2 5It’s D-Day or Draft Day tomorrow in the NFL.

More specifically, Thursday represents the first day of the NFL draft 2017.

Read More

 

trump curtainsThe major President Trump news of the day focuses upon taxes, not only the tax cuts he is proposing but his own taxes, which he obviously, refuses to unveil.

 

Read More

edwards play money 1

At a press conference today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the CAT Tax did not pass the House Ways and Means Committee.  The Governor, in addressing the media said that "the fate of that bill was decided long before we unveiled it".

Read More

latter-blum2

Sen. Appel talks budget, economy

TRUMP TALK

Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1