Behind The Lens
 

Behind The Lens episode 4: ‘This buys you some time to move away’

This week on Behind The Lens, producer and host Tom Wright interviews Lens columnist Peter Horjus about a proposed change to state law designed to slow down large property tax increases.

If passed, Constitutional Amendment 6, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, will require increases to be phased in over four years when home values go up by 50 percent or more.

Horjus saw an 80 percent increase on his Faubourg Marigny house’s assessed value last year. (He eventually negotiated it down to a 60 percent increase.) He thinks the proposal is far from perfect. It only applies to properties with homestead exemptions, so it does nothing for renters living in houses and buildings that aren’t owner-occupied. And, he says, it only delays the pain, allowing homeowners a few years to decide if they have to move to avoid a massive tax hit.

But, Horjus says, voters should hold their noses and approve Amendment 6 anyway.

“We’ll give you some time to figure it out or leave. … This buys you some time to move away,” Horjus told Wright. “Do I think we should vote for this amendment? Well, it’s a lot better than nothing else. I’m a little tired of better than nothing else.”

We also hear from reporter Michael Isaac Stein, who uncovered some information about a new city anti-violence initiative to identify residents at the greatest risk of being involved in gun crime, either as perpetrators or victims.

It looks a lot like an old city anti-violence initiative, one that was criticized as a way to target people for law enforcement investigation before they committed crimes. This time around, the group behind it hopes the data will be used to facilitate the delivery of social services, not enhanced prosecution. But the details remain unclear.

And Tom interviews reporter Marta Jewson, who has the latest on the asbestos contamination at the Rosenwald school building on the West Bank. It’s the third such incident in the city this year. And the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is looking for answers.

Behind The Lens is available on Apple Podcasts.

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