On November 4, 2008, voters in East Baton Rouge Parish will decide if the Red Stick can afford to take on nearly $1 billion in new debt proposed by tax and spend liberal democrat Mayor-President Kip Holden.

Conventional wisdom and troubled financial times tells me we would be foolish to agree to give parish government approval to sign a 30 year debt for Holden’s proposed $989 million tax. 

Some would say that municipal bonds are ‘safe’.  As the New York Times stated, our current financial crisis in the credit market proves that past performance is no indicator of what is happening in the here and now.

Make no mistake.  A bond issue is a debt and a tax.  Plain and simple.  

Bond issues do not come without controversy due to the millions of dollars made by the long barrage of attorneys that are involved. 

One of the few times I was enamored with Mary Landrieu was when she stood up to those involved in bond issues in Louisiana that turned political back in the mid-90’s.  Landrieu took a lot of heat over the situation, but she was right and stood against the good ole boy network.

Under Governor Edwin Edwards, bond issues were created and minority storefront brokerage operations were allowed to share in the spoil to spread the wealth of bond issue fees.  Edward’s comment to the New York Times was that he “was surprised that people were surprised” by the arrangement which was “very usual.”  One of the many issues Landrieu had was that these firms were chosen for political reasons to turn out the black vote.  The black caucus pounced on Landrieu, but she stood tough and it brought an injustice to light.

In related controversies over large fees being taken by bond attorneys, the Securities Exchange Commission disallowed New York firms from participating in political campaigns through contributions. 

Trust me, bond issues are huge money makers for the barrage of attorneys involved which include a long line of legal counsel to represent both sides, review, prepare, consult, ad infinitum.  Lawsuits have been settled in Louisiana for the practice of not allowing bonds to be on public bid.  

If the local tax passes, I would hope that no one associated with the Holden campaign would be remotely involved in the bond issue.  On the other hand, I hope the bond issue (tax) does not pass in its present form.

I stand with John McCain.  Why raise anyone’s taxes? 

But a small group of individuals are working powerfully to raise your taxes.  The list includes Mayor-President Kip Holden, the Downtown Development District, the Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, the Baton Rouge Union of Police, Police Chief Jeff Leduff, the Baton Rouge Firefighters Association, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, and Rolfe McCollister, Jr.  

Holden had 4 years to address infrastructure.  He waited until his second term to do so.  Safe to say the least.  There is an elaborate campaign behind the scenes working to present the taxpayers a slick sell on raising your taxes.  The latest commercial by Holden with a teenage girl is just another strategic move to convince voters to vote for higher taxes.  Children in advertising are convincing and appealing.  Each move is carefully calculated.

If you feel you are not paying enough taxes and are not concerned about the fact that we had a surplus in city government last year, vote for higher taxes.   But, if you feel you are taxed enough and are interested in city parish officials digging deeper and paying as we go, then vote no to Holden’s tax plan and force them to go back to the drawing board and to come up with a better plan of action.

Vote NO to higher taxes!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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