The mayor of New Orleans wants to shun the idea of Southern hospitality in favor of more taxes. Mayor LaToya Cantrell feels that tourists need to pay their fair share when it comes to taking care of the Big Easy. Residents of New Orleans are currently dealing with huge infrastructure problems that include potholes and tainted water drinking water. Cantrell's solution is to ask people who pile into the city to enjoy Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Bourbon Street or the Superdome to pay more.
People who book stays at hotels in New Orleans can already pay as much as 15 percent in taxes and fees. However, an audit has revealed that very little of that money actually makes its way back to the city in usable ways. A great deal of the money instead ends up supporting major state-owned tourism attractions like the Superdome. Mayor Cantrell would like to see more money from tourism stay in New Orleans. She is currently reviewing any and all opportunities for raising revenue to cover the city's $100 million infrastructure bill using the hospitality industry. In addition to new taxes on hotel stays, taxes on food and beverages are also being considered.
The mayor's plan to raise money for the city's infrastructure by imposing new tourism fees isn't earning praise from everyone. Critics feel that charging people more money to stay in the city could backfire and cause visitors to stay away. Supporters of new tourism fees argue that visitors will be inclined to stay away if there isn't enough funding to ensure that the basic services in the city are functioning.
What does it all mean for people who are planning to visit New Orleans? It is unlikely that any new decisions will be made until the spring. There's a good chance that the city will get through the summer of 2019 without any new tourist taxes popping up. It's anyone's guess beyond that.