Jefferson Parish rental car tax clears hurdle

Renting a car in Jefferson Parish could be a little more expensive under a bill that seeks to raise the rental car tax to benefit arts programs.

House Bill 585, sponsored by Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, would allow voters to decide if they want to impose a half-cent sales tax increase on rental cars. The bill initially proposed a 3 percent tax increase, but it was amended on Wednesday in a House committee.

The Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee approved the measure without objection, clearing the bill of its first hurdle.

Under the plan, one-third of the tax is distributed to the city of Kenner to be used for arts and recreation, and the remainder is split up among the Westwego Performing Arts Center, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, Gretna Cultural Center for Arts, and to Jefferson Parish for operation and maintenance of cultural facilities in the unincorporated parts of the parish.

Alexis Hocevar, vice president of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, called it a discriminatory tax.

He said in Denver, rental car taxes have reached 48 percent because of taxes being piled on throughout the years.

He said the taxes for a rental car at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which is in Kenner, are already 25 percent.

“If a rental car costs too much, people will just take a cab,” he said.

Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter @rebekahallen.