On this week's edition of "Wingin' It Wednesday", panelist Mike Stagg, Carol Ross, and Warren Caudle joined "Mornings with Ken and Bernie" to discuss the potential use of the hotel/motel tax to fund the Holy Rosary Redevelopment project as well as the upcoming 2014 senate race.

Here's what the panel had to say:

1. What do you think about HB 420 working it’s way through the state Legislature that will shift some tourism dollars to the restoration of Holy Rosary Institute.  An amendment offered by Rep. Joel Robidaux will maintain the current level of funding to the Cajundome from the hotel/motel tax.

Warren Caudle started us off:

I guess the biggest thing about it is that I know hardly nothing about it. What I do know is that Holy Rosary Institute has historic value. The biggest question I have is why are we putting tax payer dollars into anything owned by a religious group? I've heard it's going to cost $4.5 million to renovate; I do believe with the historical value that it has, with the alumni that it has, with the community we have, that money can be raised through private donation in about three months.
I know we've done this all over the world, but I don't think it's right. I think the big question we need to ask is, why are we taking tax payer dollars and giving it to a religious group?

Mike Stagg added:

First of all let me say that I'm the Vice President of Holy Rosary Development. I've been involved for about 4 1/2 years.
The story of Holy Rosary and that property and the building is tremendous. It's historically significant not only because of the building itself, but what happened in that building. The first black priest in North America to be ordained in a dioceses were ordained here, and it was all tied to Holy Rosary.
What this is about is A hotel/motel tax, of which some percent is generated on the north side of Lafayette where there are about 18 hotels. None of that money is spent on the north side of the city. It is a growth tax, that tax has grown every year, even in the recession, even in the deep water moratorium, the revenue from the hotel/motel tax increased. That is a growth tax. The Cajundome won't be hurt in any way. Money needs to be spent in that part of the parish. It is a legitimate use of money that is generated from outsiders in our parish.

Carol Ross concluded:

The bill is fundamentally flawed it needs to be defeated. The whole premise is absolutely incorrect.
The hotel/motel Association voted this tax to go to tourism related entities. While I do support the redevelopment of Holy Rosary, this is not the way to go about it. Taking public dollars that were voted for a specific purpose and transferring them to another entity that hasn't proven itself. You can't fix this bill. It's so fundamentally flawed that it cannot be fixed.

Warren Caudle, Carol Ross, Mike Stagg; KPEL 965

2. Senator David Vitter and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne have scheduled or will soon schedule fundraisers apparently signaling a gubernatorial run.  What do you think of their chances and who might you see as other opponents?

Mike commented:

He's running, he's been running. He's got a special pac set up to funnel the money to help him. He's still got his Louisiana Committee for Republican Majority where he's proved the business model.
The question will be whether the unusual set of circumstances that allowed him in 2010 to avoid having to deal with his past will prevail in 2015 and whether the other candidates will let him. I think Jay Darden will be another candidate in that race. He's well respected on both sides of the I'll and it's going to be an interesting campaign.
I think the senator shouldn't expect the kind of easy ride he got against Charlie Meloncon in 2010.

Warren responded:

I think the only candidates people are talking about is Jay Darden and David Vitter. I think the Democrats will sit this one out like they did last time around. The big question will be who will the Democrats come in and support. Its going to really come down to how the rest of the state will look at the candidates. Vitter is from New Orleans. Darden is from Baton Rouge. I think they've both done a good job, so it will be interesting to see where the Democrats fall.

Carol surmised:

I think there will be a Democrat in the race and I think John Bell Edwards will be the one. He's been very active with the Fiscal Hawks in creating an alternative budget to the governor's budget. With Jay Darden, Lt. Governor is the best job in the state. You just go around and glad hand people and give out money. It's always happy time. Vitter is seen as a crusader for the right things, he's seen as a reformer. It's going to be a real contrast in styles. If people are looking for a fiscal conformer I think Vitter will be that candidate, but when you have an open seat in Louisiana it's anybodies guess.

 

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think about today’s Wingin’ It Wednesday topics. Who got it right, who got it wrong, and who was way off? Let us know in the comment section.