Budget Study Reveals Baton Rouge Pays Zero Toward Running Offices
Leaders of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber announced this week that they will be raising a large sum of money to buy advertising to convince voters in the proposed City of St. George to vote against incorporation.
The thrust of their argument is that people in the southeast part of East Baton Rouge have been bleeding the parish dry and now want to “break away” for their own selfish reasons instead of working to solve the problems.
But a study of the City-Parish budget by a budget analyst for the proposed City of St. George discovered an astounding fact that Sen. Bodi White revealed at the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.
White said that as sales taxes are collected throughout the parish, they are placed in funds. Sales taxes collected in Baton Rouge are placed n the Baton Rouge Fund. Sales taxes collected in Baker go into the Baker Fund. Sales taxes collected in Zachary go into the Zachary Fund. Sales taxes collected in Central go into the Central Fund. And sales taxes collected in the unincorporated parts of the parish are deposited into the Unincorporated Fund.
The money in the Baton Rouge Fund is used by Baton Rouge, and so on. But here’s where it gets “astounding.”
The cost of running Constitutional offices in the parish is $17.7 million. This is for the 19th Judicial District, Family Court, Juvenile Court, District Attorney, Registrar of Voters and Coroner. Then there is another $8.5 million that is used to fund the Parish Prison, Juvenile Services, Animal Control, and so on.
Guess where the money comes from?
All $26.2 million comes from the Unincorporated Fund!
The citizens of the unincorporated areas of the parish pay 100 percent of these expenses! Not one penny in sales taxes collected in Baton Rouge, Baker, Central or Zachary helps pay these expenses!
The next step is the kicker. After this $26.2 million is taken out of the Unincorporated Fund, there remains about $52 million. All of this money is then transferred to the City of Baton Rouge!
The amount actually being spent in the unincorporated areas is relatively small.
Proponents of the City of St. George this week released a proposed budget for the new city. Ironically, they propose continuing to pay 100 per cent of these parishwide expenses from the budget of St. George. The reason? They will still be able to run a $20 million a year surplus.