On Tuesday February 4th a group called Residents Against the Breakaway held it's first public meeting in opposition to the St. George incorporation effort.
Their highly political and partisan presentation was primarily filled with scare tactics, unsubstantiated conjecture and factual inaccuracies. This movement is not about the destruction of anyone or anything. This is about citizens using self determination to better their way of life, take control of their tax dollars and create an outstanding public education system for ALL CHILDREN, not just the lucky few in the magnet program.
We have gone slide by slide and fact checked the presentation for you. You can see their presentation here.
Slide 4: "Consolidated government brought about increased public services and public investment in the unincorporated areas."
What increased public services and what public investment? No specific facts given.
Slide 5 : "History of Parish-Wide Investment"They conveniently chose 1990, the year prior to the Local Services Agreement being enacted.
Slide 6 - 11: "Project Horizon" Parish Investment"
They chose to highlight eight projects/ developments that have happened since 1990. One of which is actually in the city limits. So there's really only seven. Seven projects/developments in the southern part of the parish... five of which are within a mile or less of the city limits. Since 1990. Over 20 years.
84 square miles and over 100,000 people they invested in 4 shopping centers...
They would lead you to believe that the Parish paid for these projects. What did the Parish actually do? Did they build the buildings? Did they purchase the buildings? Again, no facts given.
Slide 13: "Majority of sales come form residents outside of the proposed city."
That’s an impossible statement to make. More conjecture. Based on this logic people from every city in the Parish visit these shopping centers. Is Baton Rouge sending any money to Baker, Zachary or Central? Do they send a check back to people who don't live in the city and spend money down town?
Slide 16: "Our budget is not a financial assessment."
A Financial Assessment is exactly what this is.
Neither could we, however EBR Parish has been transferring funds to the City of Baton Rouge for over 20 years. Thank you for making our point.
Slide 17: "Damage to jobs center of EBR city-parish would affect the entire metro city-parish."
What’s the factual basis for this statement? What damage is going to be done? Are business going to close their doors? Again, more conjecture. No facts.
Slide 18: "53 Million Dollar Deficit on a 280 Million Dollar Budget."
To begin with, it’s 14 million on a 800 million dollar budget. Not 53 million. They do not take into consideration any of the provisions put forth is our budget because that would be making an assumption that we would do what we say we will... but they are happy to make the assumption we won't. Our point is that it can be done. Also, they are only looking at the City of Baton Rouge general fund budget numbers. The total EBR City-Parish budget is over 800 million dollars. Again... no facts.
Slide 19: "Tax Increase or services will be cut."
Again, pure conjecture and not true. There in NO REASON that taxes should be raised. The city would have a total impact of less than 2% on an 800 million dollar budget. Not everybody in the parish pays the same taxes now. We won't receive cuts in services because we will providing our own services.
Slide 20: "84% of new city budget would consist of sales tax revenue."
Again... not true. What we showed here is a general fund. If you add up what we pay for all dedicated parish property taxes which we will continue to pay as well as a ½ cent sewer and a ½ cent roads the actual budget is approximately 175 million. So if you do an actual percentage breakdown it’s approximately 38% of our budget will consist of sales tax revenue not 84%. Fact.
Slide 22: "EBR Spending down in November."Thank you for making our point for us again. If we don’t do something about the exodus of tax paying citizens from the parish this is what will happen. Accurate forecast.
Again, conjecture with no facts given. this is what we refer to as scare tactics.
Again... what facts support this claim?