The EBRP Money Tree Friday, Nov 27 2009 

 

Mayor-President Kip Holden is full of contradictions.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons I question budgetary issues in the Red Stick.  All one has to do is to pay attention, do a small amount of research and compare the endless trail of contradictions.

On one hand the Mayor’s Office released information indicating the fact that East Baton Rouge Parish income has decreased (according to a recent report in The Advocate).  Income from taxes is on the decrease in EBRP.  So much so, that the finance department is closely watching for potential challenges in city-parish spending for 2010.

Meanwhile, Mayor Holden plans to spend more of our tax dollars to lure new airlines to the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.  The increase in city parish spending would include $200,000 in advertisement and a 100% reduction in terminal rent, landing fees (that means free for the airline) for 2 years with an additional 5 cent reduction in fuel costs.  The expenditure was approved by the EBRP Metro Council on November 25th.

Flash back to 2007.  Mayor Holden cut a deal with Frontier Airlines to the tune of $1,000,000.  The promise was that the Red Stick would enjoy 3,000 indirect and 2,000 direct jobs.  As usual, the employment numbers were inflated and Frontier flew into the sunset one year later with $550,000 of our tax dollars.

Either Mayor Holden has a money tree we are not aware of, or he is banking that our tax income will not continue to drop.  If income drops just a couple more percent, city-parish’s budget will be operating in a deficit.

There is also the theory that Mayor Holden is a tax and spend liberal.  I prescribe to this belief.

Michael Acaldo, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul, indicated they served a record number of Thanksgiving meals to the needy in Baton Rouge. 739 vs 600 in past years, making that an all-time 20-year high.

Holiday Helpers normally serves 1,200 meals annually; however, they served 1,500 needy citizens this year — another record-breaking number of hungry families. 

These are specific indicators of the issues facing families in the Red Stick.  While Mayor Holden tries to convince us that the Red Stick has gone unscathed by the U.S. recession, we now have more evidence to indicate the opposite is true. 

It is so important that voters do their homework.  What we are told and the facts are sometimes drastically different. 

Is there a pending financial crisis for the city-parish, or are the coffers flowing to the point we can increase expenditures by nearly a quarter of a million dollars to lure another airline with no guarantees? 

Are families unscathed, or are they working hard to make ends meet?

Phaedrus said, things are not always as they seem, the first appearance deceives many.  The intelligence of few perceives what has been carefully hidden. 

The truth is important, and all we need to do is to look at the facts vs. political double-talk. 

How you spend someone else’s money speaks volumes.  Holden’s actions continue to prove he is spendthrift with our tax dollars.  While we are having record numbers of hungry families in the Greater Baton Rouge area, Holden is continually seeking out ways to increase spending.

Does Mayor-President Holden have an EBRP money tree?  Only if you have it hidden in your pocketbook.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Politics of Guilt Friday, Nov 20 2009 

Mayor Kip Holden is practicing what I like to call the Politics of Guilt in response to voters decision to defeat his proposed tax increase in the form of a bond issue. 

After being absentee for several days, Holden finally spoke out in his normal ‘revengeful’ manner inferring to the media that “sometimes you have to show the error of ways to move to the next step”The Mayor went on to liken the voters to a parent refusing to invest in the future of their child.

Someone get me some boots because it’s getting pretty deep in the Red Stick!

There is no doubt that our infrastructure needs attention, but Holden says there is no money in the city-parish budget and he refuses to cut services.  (If he needs some guidance to cutting the fat, he might want to read a few of my recommendations here.)

The fact that we have not addressed the infrastructure is not completely the fault of Red Stick voters.  It is a combination of numerous factors including the fact that those with the purse strings have been spendthrift with our tax dollars.

It is so difficult to comprehend the mentality that the Mayor holds fast to because it is a contradiction of his actions.  His continuous justification for spending thousands of dollars a month for security guards and other personal amenities (that no other previous Mayor has enjoyed) makes for a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.  Voters frown upon this type of leadership.

 A quick look at the city-parish budget reveals an endless stream of dollars to special interests that Holden has hand-picked to receive.  It doesn’t work to use the politics of guilt on voters when you are freely giving tax dollars to your pet peeve projects. 

Any way you cut it, Holden is sending another message.  It’s a familiar one: 

  • If you dare to disagree, question or go against Mayor Holden’s plan, he will punish you. 

Just ask Councilman Joel Boe’. 

It’s a sign of poor leadership when you can’t take constructive criticism or allow others to be involved in the process.  Taking this position is a mistake that will surely haunt you.

The sooner Holden and his entourage learn that they are elected and appointed, and that the money is not theirs, the quicker we can get to a solution on curbing city-parish spending and moving forward. 

The next greatest city in America will be one that embraces the citizens and respects their opinions, not one that will practices the politics of guilt.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Silent Majority No More! Sunday, Nov 15 2009 

creepy batture

Once again, the voters of East Baton Rouge Parish took to the polls on Saturday to say no to Mayor-President Kip Holden’s proposed $901 million bond issue.  Voters rejected paying an half-cent sales tax increase and a 9.9 mill property tax to fund questionable projects in 2008, and repeated that message on Saturday.

The message is simple.  City Parish government needs to live within its’ means. 

Senate District 16 is known as the most influential voting district in East Baton Rouge Parish.  Out of 103 voting precincts in District 16, 100 precincts voted NO to Holden’s tax increase.  Quite telling.

Unfortunately, Mayor-President Kip Holden and his entourage refuse to listen to those who elected him and appear to be considering a third run at the tax increase.  During the 10:00 p.m. WAFB news report, Holden, while claiming the voters turned their backs on the Mississippi River, hinted at regrouping for a third push at raising taxes.

What is most amazing is that Holden convinced businesses and political allies to donate more than $600,000 on a tax-increase campaign to convince voters to say yes.  The people would have been better served if those funds would have been used in the development of public-private partnerships than a poorly planned and executed tax increase campaign.

Holden pulled out the stops by garnering support from an endless list of politically motivated individuals and groups such as the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) who receives $500,000 annually from Holden for economic development.  Other key supporters included architects, contractors, attorneys and developers who stood to gain financially if the bond issue passed.  

On the other side of the issue, a very effective campaign was run by volunteers associated with the Baton Rouge Tea Party in their Beat the Bond message to voters.  The Tea Party spent less than 3% of the funds raised by their opponents, bringing home a victory with nearly a 3-to-1 vote against the tax increase with 64% voting no to higher taxes.

There is no doubt that this is not the final word on Holden’s plan to increase city-parish spending by passing it on to taxpayers.  Likewise, I believe the voters have gained strength by proving their vote can make a difference.

Voters are more savvy than in any time in history.  They have witnessed their federal tax dollars flowing into the coffers of financial institutions and car manufacturers, not to mention the dollars pumped into special interests. 

The seeds of deception Holden and his entourage sowed with the Metro Council and EBRP voters, no doubt, played a key role in the defeat of his tax proposal.  Once trust is violated, it’s a losing proposition.

Finally, Holden needs to learn that holding fast to a bullying mentality toward those who expressed concern or questioned his decision to increase taxes is no way to win over the public.  Voters have grown weary of political games, and expressed their disdain for this type of behavior.

The greatest event arising from the proposed tax increase was the involvement and feedback from voters who have been silent in the past.  As the Baton Rouge Tea Party says, Silent Majority No More!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Devil is in the Details Wednesday, Nov 4 2009 

Devil in the Details

 

When small things have larger consequences, we say “the devil is in the details” and this precisely describes Mayor-President Kip Holden’s $901 million tax increase which will cost an additional $814 million in interest.

Holden and his entourage have already proven to be less than trustworthy in being forthcoming with the voters.  Now, it is our job to spend a little more time looking at the facts.

It’s tough to fight city hall when they use diversion tactics to keep the voters away from the facts.  Better late than never, the media finally gave the voters critical information that Holden’s entourage chose to keep private.  They are to be complimented. 

I’m not sure which of the critical details are most important, so I’ll let you decide:

So much misinformation, so little time to check the facts.  Perhaps this is the plan by Holden and his entourage?  Will it work?  Or will the voters take a hard look at raising taxes in troubled financial times and say, enough is enough?

Will the voters be swayed by groups like the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce that receives $500,000 of OUR tax dollars annually from Mayor Holden to play a public relations role by touting economic development?  What about the mirage of financial supporters to Holden’s tax increase that includes a long list of companies and individuals that will benefit from the bond issue?

Why did Holden insist on not disclosing critical information to the voters, much less his own Metro Council?  Will his tactics of attacking those who question the bond issue work as a bait-and-switch agenda to divert voters from the real facts?

I have to totally disagree with insane claims that we can triple tourism because of Alive! being built, or that it will stop the exodus of our young and talented people.  Or, that we will drastically increase events at the River Center because of an expansion and new parking garage.  We expanded it before and saw virtually no increase in events.  

The carrot keeps moving folks!

Discrediting voters and cost-sensitive residents of EBR Parish has been the focus of the entire bond issue CAMPAIGN by Holden and his entourage. 

It won’t work this time. 

The greatest thing that Mayor Holden’s proposed tax increase has accomplished is a dialogue by more EBRP citizens than in the history of the Red Stick.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that the small list of individuals supporting this tax increase has told us in the past that tax increases are not the answer, but responsible government spending is the answer.  What happened to our leaders?  It is stinking thinking to push a tax increase on us and not examine the spending habits of our Mayor.  

Every time these tired leaders want to get our attention and sway us into excessive spending, they use scare tactics and outdated sayings! 

Stop the insanity! 

Years ago we were told the Shaw Center, the rebuilding of hotels, the Casinos, updating the Centroplex, building Catfish Town, and more would save our city and make us a tourist mecca.  Oh, let’s not forget the building of an EMPTY dock on the riverfront.  Pretty to look at, but virtually unused! 

Maybe someone should talk with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne who has done more with less money and increased visitors at the museums under his purvue! 

While you are reading this, Holden’s entourage is working on getting out the vote. 

The only way you can stop this 30-year-tax-and-spend-plan for the Red Stick is to go to the voting booth and pull the lever by sending another message that we will not be bullied into increasing city-parish spending through a NEW tax! 

We cannot tax our way to prosperity, nor become the next greatest city in America by committing to a 30-year tax. 

Revolution is brewing!  Silent majority no more!  Join the Tea Party!  Vote NO to higher taxes, and Beat the Bond!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican