Court overturns N.O. tax penalties

Court overturns N.O. tax penalties

Credit: Getty Images

MIAMI - FEBRUARY 02: A judges gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the newly opened Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum February 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The museum is located in the only known structure in the nation that was designed, devoted to and operated as a separate station house and municipal court for African-Americans. In September 1944, the first black patrolmen were sworn in as emergency policemen to enforce the law in what was then called the "Central Negro District." The precinct building opened in May 1950 to provide a station house for the black policemen and a courtroom for black judges in which to adjudicate black defendants. The building operated from 1950 until its closing in 1963. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on April 14, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Updated Saturday, Apr 14 at 2:32 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A district court judge has ruled the system of penalties used to force New Orleans property owners to pay overdue property taxes is unconstitutional.

Judge Ethel Simms Julien ruled a 10 percent penalty for late payment and a 9.5 percent penalty to cover outside attorney and collection fees violate the Louisiana Constitution.

The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/IG2qeD) Julien's ruling, which follows a 2008 state Supreme Court decision that invalidated an earlier New Orleans collection process, is the latest round in a long-running battle over the collection technique introduced in 1998 under Mayor Marc Morial.

Although the city can continue to charge 12 percent annual interest on overdue property taxes, its only other remedy for nonpayment is to sell the property at a tax sale, Julien said.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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