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