It’s tea time for the council

by Walter Pierce

The City-Parish Council will discuss and vote on extending the TIF at Louisiana Avenue/I-10 — the T in TIF stands for tax OMG! — and council members will get an earful from a libertarian adversary of comprehensive planning.

Ayn Rand and her ideal children
Photo Illustration

The City-Parish Council Tuesday will vote on an ordinance for final adoption that, if passed, would extend the TIF — tax increment financing — at the Louisiana Avenue/Interstate 10 corridor. The TIF levies an additional one cent in sales tax to cover the cost of infrastructure improvements at the corridor, a financing plan that originally helped lure retail anchors Target, JC Penny, Petco and Academy Sports to the now-thriving shopping center on Lafayette’s under-served north side. If extended, the TIF would cover infrastructures improvements on the northeast side of the corridor catty-corner to the current development.

But the vote also promises to amplify the split on the council between the tea party caucus and what looks to be a bipartisan and sensible majority among the remaining council members. Sponsored by Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, the ordinance was approved two weeks ago in introduction by a 6-2 vote, with Councilmen Don Bertrand, Jay Castille, Kevin Naquin, Keith Patin and Brandon Shelvin joining Boudreaux. Councilmen Andy Naquin and William Theriot, reliable tea party votes, opposed the measure while their compadre Jared Bellard was absent for the vote.

The council will also hear from scholar Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the libertarian think tank The Cato Institute. O’Toole is a well-traveled opponent of urban planning and proponent of privatization who will try to convince the council that the Unified Development Code, which the council approved in intro last week and will vote on for final adoption next week, tramples on private property rights and arrests the free market from performing the second-coming-of-Jesus magic that libertarians have feverishly promised for half a century if only it weren’t for those collectivists also known as political realists.

O’Toole will appear before the council at the invitation of Theriot.

Worth noting: America tried libertarianism. We call it the Gilded Age. Remember that? No income tax, few government regulations, robber barons, children working in factories, routine industrial catastrophes, poisonous urban slums, pernicious income inequality? The libertarian good ole days.