Dan Juneau: Property Tax Reform Moving Backward, Not Forward

By Dan Juneau
President, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

LABI President Dan Juneau

LABI President Dan Juneau

After Kathleen Blanco was elected governor in 2003, I had a meeting with her before her inauguration. One of the items I mentioned to her was the necessity to appoint a conscientious Louisiana Tax Commission (LTC), one that would insure that the elected assessors in the state would accurately appraise property and not play favorites with assessments. I told her that the property tax system in Louisiana was a mess and the LTC could play a key role in cleaning it up. Governor Blanco subsequently appointed the most reform-oriented commission in modern history. That group did audits of assessments around the state and sent assessment rolls back to local assessors when they were not doing their jobs properly. Needless to say, most of the tax assessors were not enamored with Governor Blanco.

In 2007, I also met with Governor Jindal after his election but before his inauguration. I told him how important it was to keep the property tax reform effort moving forward. I emphasized the fact that, from an economic development standpoint, property tax administration in Louisiana was definitely a negative. The assessors largely were big supporters of Governor Jindal in the 2007 election. Shortly after his inauguration, he feted them with a fancy dinner in the Governor’s Mansion. They obviously had strong influence in his appointment of commission members.

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