BRAC Endorses Mayor's Bond Proposal

Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 7:11am

BATON ROUGE, La. (September 16, 2009) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced its unanimous endorsement of the East Baton Rouge Parish (EBR) Capital Improvements Plan. The parishwide proposition, presented by EBR Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden, is designed to make large-scale improvements in public safety, property protection, and traffic congestion, as well as significant investments in economic development, including the creation of thousands of permanent jobs.

“After a discussion amongst its members, our board voted unanimously to support the 2009 bond election,” said Matt McKay, Chairman, President, and CEO of All Star Automotive Group and BRAC’s Chairman of the Board. “The mayor and his staff made the business and economic development case for this initiative. Once our board had an opportunity to learn about the specifics of each component, we felt that the initiative has been sensibly thought through, and we have confidence in the proposals as designed. Perhaps most important of all, the BRAC board felt it is time for Baton Rouge to chart a bold course for its future.”

The BRAC Board of Directors held a special meeting yesterday to discuss the bond proposal. The unanimous vote to endorse echoed the similarly strong support received by the initiative from the board in 2008.

“This bond election will ignite our economy,” said Adam Knapp, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “The LSU economic forecast makes a strong case that business sales and economic activity will increase from the impact of the proposal, while at the same time it will improve community safety and quality of life. That’s a powerful combination.”

The $901 million plan consists of projects resulting from a proposed bond election. The bond financing will consist of a thirty-year, 9.9 millage property tax and a new half-cent sales tax. If approved by the voters, the parishwide proposition will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in private, state, and federal investments in the Capital Region. BRAC also stated that a notable consideration for their endorsement was the economic impact of certain aspects of the plan that are forecasted to result in additional revenue for the city-parish, which would allow for the bond debt to be retired prior to the thirty-year term, thereby removing the incremental property and sales taxes.

More information about the 2009 bond election can be found at www.brac.org/bond. Individuals in support wishing to sign on to help the campaign can sign up there as well.