Four state senators look out for state

The American Press

Four state senators, under the leadership of Senate President John Alario, are having a study done to determine what the state should demand from Harrah’s New Orleans Casino in exchange for a 30-year extension of its operating license. It is the type of study that should have been done before an attempt was made last year to grant the extension.

“We just want to know what’s the best deal for the state and how can we accomplish that,” Alario, R-Westwego, told The Advocate. “If it’s a good arrangement for the state, let’s move forward and get it going.”

Speaker of the House Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, sponsored legislation last year granting the 30-year extension that gives the casino the right to operate the only land casino in New Orleans. The Advocate said the renewal didn’t call for any bid or solicitation process and would have come six years before the casino’s license expired.

The Senate amended the bill, raising the casino’s $60 million minimum annual payment to $80 million. Sen. Gary Smith Jr., D-Norco, offered the Senate amendment. The casino objected to the increase and the bill died when there was no compromise measure.

The other two senators questioning the House legislation were Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville. They complained about the lack of any data or analysis.

“All these fiscal conservatives (in the House) who don’t want to spend a nickel on anything voted to blast it through. That’s amazing to me,” Donahue said. “How can you make a decent decision if you have no information?”

The Advocate said Harrah’s isn’t certain it will remain in New Orleans and hasn’t made major upgrades to the casino in years. The newspaper said Harrah’s win — how much it earned after paying off winners — declined from a peak of $419 million in 2008 to $281 million in 2017. Its 21.5 percent tax payment to the state has declined from $90 million in 2008 to the minimum $60 million in 2017.

The casino study is due Feb. 15. LaFleur said of the study, “It could be the vehicle to approving (Harrah’s plan). It could also be the vehicle that crashes it.”

Whatever the outcome, we hope legislators will learn from this rush to judgment. Our hats off to the four senators who were watching out for the state’s best interests.””Harrah’s New OrleansBy InfrogmationOwn work, CC BY 2.5, Link

Local News

Jeff Davis releases names of parish administrator applicants

Local News

Kennedy introduces bill to help Louisiana farmers recover from crop loss

Local News

Louisiana National Guard send third rotation to Texas border

Local News

VIDEO: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Memorial Service

Local News

Speaker Johnson: Biden, Schumer must display moral courage, support Israel

Local News

Rate hikes for utilities approved in Sulphur

life

Circles on a Mission: Second-annual charity bike ride rolls this Saturday in DeRidder

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Another bout of severe weather awaits SW La.

Local News

Higgins announces Army Corps funding for south Louisiana projects

life

Starks Mayhaw Festival: Don’t miss out on your free biscuit with jelly

life

Down on Main Street Custom Car and Truck Show is Saturday

life

Network of helpers feeding Pearl Watson’s children in need

Local News

UPDATE: 10,500 still without power following Monday’s storm system

Local News

Supreme Court orders Louisiana to use congressional map with additional Black district in 2024 vote

Crime

Sheriff: Be wary of jury duty scam

Local News

Calcasieu schools won’t have to add days despite exceeding weather day allotment

Local News

SW La. not done with wet weather forecasts

Local News

Biden and Trump agree to 2 presidential debates, in June and September

McNeese Sports

Cowboys move opener for TV

Local News

Concerns over street work raised at DeRidder Council meeting

Local News

House GOP honors America’s fallen police officers

Local News

Putin says Russia is prepared to negotiate over Ukraine

Crime

5/15: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: ‘You win some; you lose some’