I am against the tax proposition for East Baton Rouge Parish as it is currently proposed.
I reviewed the previous two tax propositions for capital improvements in East Baton Rouge Parish. The most recent tax proposition apparently totaled about $901 million. The current estimate for projects in the new proposal totals about $748 million, according to what I have read to date.
If you deduct the $225 million for the Alive project that was in the second tax proposition that failed, that would make the total for the second tax proposition about $676 million. If you take the Alive project out of the equation, it appears that the current tax proposition is about $72 million MORE than the most recent tax proposition.
I plan on voting against all of the categories in the proposed tax proposition for several reasons, including the following:
• I am not sure that the downtown City Hall project really fits into the Public Safety category, and $52 million seems like too much. In addition, City Hall Consolidation appears to have been about $39 million in the most recent tax proposition. What in the world is the $52 million really going to be used for?
• I believe bridge repair funds were included in the first tax proposition but not in the second one. Why is that? I think there are too many unanswered questions about the need for additional bridge repair funds. In addition, while I guess the proposed parking garage can be considered to be an infrastructure project, I have to think it could be placed in the Economic Development Category. Besides I am not sure we really need another parking garage downtown now.
• If I remember correctly, some River Center improvements are being made even though they were included in the second tax proposition that failed. I think enough money is already being spent on the River Center.
Basically, I do not like the way the projects are grouped, and also think some of the projects are a waste of tax money. Also, I think we already pay plenty enough in local taxes and the local government needs to use existing tax money more wisely. Therefore, I personally will vote NO.
However, I will also add that I think all proposed projects could be separated and let the voters decide exactly which ones they like and want to pay for.