Skewed numbers: Vehicle and sales tax collections in East Baton Rouge Parish declined 12.9% in November, with fallout from the August 2016 flood skewing year-over-year comparisons, according to a city-parish Finance Department report released late Friday. Combined tax collections for the month dropped to approximately $15.7 million, compared to the roughly $18 million collected in November 2016. The city-parish collected $1.13 million in vehicle taxes and about $14.6 million in sales taxes, a decrease of roughly 54% and 6.4%, respectively. As of November, the city-parish had collected $177.1 million in taxes. See the full report.
Confederate monument: A federal judge on Friday refused to block the removal of a Confederate monument that was erected on courthouse grounds in Caddo Parish more than a century ago. The United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Shreveport chapter sought a court order to stop Caddo Parish officials from moving the monument. The chapter sued the parish commission in October after a majority of commissioners voted to remove the monument from the courthouse square. But the judge said the chapter hasn’t proved it owns the land where the 30-foot-tall, marble and granite monument has stood since 1906. Read more.
Positive review: About half of U.S. small-business owners give the Trump administration a grade of A or B for its performance on issues that have been important to their businesses over the past year, according to the new Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey. The poll, a survey of 603 small business owners from every state, was conducted between Jan. 3-9. The business owners were asked to rate the Trump administration on 10 political and economic issues. They were likely to give the administration a good rating for its ability to improve the overall economy and create jobs as well as on tax reform and dealing with regulations. The owners are more likely to give the administration a poor rating for international relations, infrastructure improvements and healthcare reform. Read more.