Taxes Collected in St. George Are Heavily Subsidizing the City of Baton Rouge
In the current fiscal year, more than $80 million will be collected in local taxes from the area within the boundaries of the proposed City of St. George.
What happens to those dollars after they are received by the City-Parish Treasurer’s office has been the subject of a growing controversy.
St. George organizer Norman Browning said his volunteers began combing the budget of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board in an effort to prepare a budget for the proposed Southeast Baton Rouge Community School System.
After they decided to launch the petition drive to incorporate St. George as a municipality, they began studying the City-Parish budget.
What they found in the City-Parish budget left them in wide-eyed disbelief.
It seems the unincorporated areas of East Baton Rouge Parish, chiefly St. George, have been financially carrying the entire parish in one of the most one-sided relationships since colonial days.
According to budget documents produced by the City-Parish, the $80 million collected in St. George is placed in a separate fund called the Unincorporated Fund.
The $80 million in that fund is spent in three ways:
• $17.7 million is used to pay the expenses of the constitutional offices in the parish (those agencies established by the Louisiana Constitution), such as the 19th Judicial District, Family Court, Juvenile Court, District Attorney, Registrar of Voters, and Coroner.
• $10.4 million from the fund is used to pay the expenses of parishwide agencies, such as the Parish Prison, Juvenile Services, Animal Control, Parish Health Unit, Council on Aging, Crime Stoppers, and others.
• The remaining $52 million dollars is transferred directly to the City of Baton Rouge.
The Unincorporated Fund doesn’t pay a “share” of the expenses of the constitutional and parish offices. Rather, it pays 100 percent of those expenses!
The taxpayers of the City of Baton Rouge make no contribution at all — zero — to the operating expenses of the 19th Judicial District, the D.A., the coronor, the Parish Prison, or any of the others. Neither do the taxpayers of Baker, Central, or Zachary!
The remaining $52 million in the Unincorporated Fund is transferred in its in entirety to the City of Baton Rouge. It is not transferred to the parish or shared with Baker, Central, or Zachary. All of it goes to Baton Rouge.
The taxpayers of St. George are already paying for a city — but not their city. They pay $52 million a year to support the City of Baton Rouge.