The Baton Rouge Area Chamber announced Monday that it supports the East Baton Rouge Library’s property tax that is up for re-election on Oct. 24.
The library is requesting 11.1 mills, which could range from around $80 to $200 a year for local property owners depending on their property values. The tax is expected to bring in around $44 million next year, which makes up more than 98 percent of the library’s budget.
“The business community believes that the East Baton Rouge Parish Library System will continue to operate as a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” said BRAC Board Chairman Van Mayhall, Jr. in a news release. “They’ve demonstrated sound fiscal responsibility in upgrading facilities and technology to maximize public use of resources.”
Earlier this year, some Metro Council members and others chided the library for what they called fiscal irresponsibility. Metro Council members Ryan Heck and John Delgado eyed the library’s hefty savings — which will go toward building new branches and maintenance — and questioned why the library needed more money when it had so much stockpiled.
The library staff and board are now campaigning to voters to approve the property tax. It’s the same size property tax that voters have approved for the past two decades for the library, but it will translate into a tax increase for taxpayers because property values have increased over time.
The state’s Service Employees International Union — which represents city-parish employees — also announced that it is endorsing John Bel Edwards for governor. Edwards is the only high-profile democrat in the race.
The union blames Gov. Bobby Jindal for “broken policies” that have caused its members to suffer over the past several years. Union members lauded Edwards’ support for raising minimum wage, advocating for equal pay and expanding healthcare access.
“John Bel Edwards is committed to standing up for Louisiana’s working families, women and the working poor,” said LaTanja Silvester, president of the local SEIU, in a news release.