Study: Baton Rouge could lose millions upon incorporation of St. George

photo by staff
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 12:16am

 "We'll be stuck with a 50 plus million dollar bill," said LSU economist and Director of the Public Administration Institute, Dr. Jim Richardson.

The city of Baton Rouge will lose 53 million dollars, according to LSU economists' recent report, if the city of St. George is incorporated.

"For the city of st. george to be successful, the city of baton rouge has to be successful. and if you're subtracting money from that, you're making it almost impossible to be a successful city," said Richardson. 

According to the report, led by Richardson, the new city will subtract 30 percent from the East Baton Rouge General Fund. That equals 85 million dollars, primarily funded by taxes on the items you buy. And with a number of retailers in the proposed area, some residents are concerned.

Anthony W. Nelson, Baton Rouge resident said "We're the ones shopping at Mall of Louisiana, at Perkins Rowe, at Towncenter. You're taking that large tax base out of Baton Rouge. so what's going to happen to the city? It'll become more impoverished, more disadvantaged."

When asked about the potential benefits for Baton Rouge, Richardson added, "I don't think there are any benefits to the city of Baton Rouge."

But Norman Browning who started the petition to incorporate St. George, feels the area will have much to gain.   "Baton Rouge will have to tighten their belt about 14 percent. You have greater control. we can now be in control of the tax dollars to fix our roads and zoning."

The economists say that parish-wide services like police and public works could suffer.

"The museum, the symphony, all those things that you think of as being part of Baton Rouge will suddenly won't be fully funded. The city of Baton Rouge will be even less able to take care of their needs and a school district."

Browning encourages people in the affected areas to "come sit down and talk with us about issues or concerns, then make an educated decision from there."

Supporters say they have nearly half of the 18,000 signatures they need. To read the entire report released, click here.

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