Under Mayor-President Kip Holden, budget increases have been quite significant. During his reign over East Baton Rouge Parish, Holden increased the budget over 24% in the last 3 years, more than double for the previous mayoral administration.
This is not surprising since Holden has always held fast a spendthrift mentality with tax dollars.
Former Mayor-President Bobby Simpson, with an accounting background, was able to hold the budget to more desirable increases. Under Simpson, the 2003 budget was $221 million, the 2004 budget was $224 million, and his final budget presentation was $228 million in 2005. The outgoing mayor presents the budget for the following year. Previous figures are not available on the EBRP city government website.
Holden increased that budget by 24% since his election as Mayor of East Baton Rouge Parish. Parish reports indicate a $235 million city-parish budget in 2006, increased to $254 million in 2007, $278 million in 2008, and finally $282 million for 2009.
In 2004, total revenue for EBRP was $542 million, increasing to $588 million in 2005. By 2006, EBRP revenue was up to $664 million. Holden’s finance team has failed to list revenue figures for 2007 or 2008. Surprising, given the public records requirements, unless there is a strategy here to not reveal a clearer picture of revenue to voters.
Simpson was working with less than desirable revenue, yet Holden, with more cash in the coffers, claims he still needs additional funds. The Mayor-President plans to make his own dreams of spending more tax dollars come true through his proposed tax increase aka bond issue set for an upcoming fall election.
Regardless of some positive conditions Holden rallies around on behalf of East Baton Rouge Parish, raising taxes is not desirable to voters who are reigning in their personal spending due to the recession.
Holden carries spendthrift baggage that he hopes voters will once again overlook. Increasing revenues, along with increased budgets shows he failed to keep a campaign promise. Holden promised to streamline EBRP government, and to meet bi-annually with each department head to justify spending and services. No reports of these meetings have been given to his employer: YOU, the taxpayer.
Our past is always a representation of our present mentality and things to come. Holden has proven this point.
In 1992, as a representative in the Louisiana Legislature, Holden voted 100% against business, as noted by LABI (Louisiana Business & Industry) in 13 votes for business and industry.
Continuing his plight against businesses, Holden targeted entrepreneurs by proclaiming his goal to ‘remove the corporate welfare’ by ending tax exemptions to businesses. In 2002, he attempted to remove tax exemptions for Louisiana manufacturers and businesses.
In a turnaround, Holden received a positive rating for voting against a sales tax in 2000 because LABI opposed a tax increase, but only because the tax would affect the needy. Holden proclaimed, “sales taxes hurt the poor“. Interesting, since he plans to tax everyone, including the poor, in his upcoming bond issue.
In 1988, as a legislator, Holden won the ranking of #2 in the entire state for spending taxpayer monies to travel. Enough said.
I have made it no secret that Mayor-President Kip Holden’s bond issue is nothing more than a tax on the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish that we cannot afford.
Some would ask how we can strengthen our infrastructure without a tax. Easy. Cut spending. A cursory glance at the 2009 budget indicates expenses that can be easily cut without cutting essential services to taxpayers.
Examples of cuts in contractual services in the 2009 budget that are non-essential include:
- $233,000 to host the U.S. Bowling Congress
- $284,560 for seasonal decorations, landscaping, arborist and plant maintenance
- $250,000 for an airport and airline surveys/studies
Additionally, the list of annual contractual services below could be cut significantly. Either they have not generated the desired results, are unnecessary at this financial level, or cut into monies that could have been spent on children and needy families in our parish :
- $965,750 for medical services for EBR Parish Prison inmates
- $500,000 for marketing services of the airport
- $100,000 for mowing/trimming services of 4 facilities
- $100,000 for marketing the garbage, trash and sewer services
These cuts alone equate to $2.4 million. There’s plenty more fat in the budget. We’ve all had to cut our personal budgets, why should city government be any different?
This is not rocket science. If we cut 12% of the annual city parish budget, we would not need tax increases. That $33.8 million annually times Holden’s proposed 30 year tax/bond issue = over $1 billion. Sounds tough to do? Probably no tougher than it has been for you to make cuts in your family budget.
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican