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:
- In November, 2008, the voters spoke by voting down Holden’s bond issue. The Mayor and his entourage have chosen to ignore 51% of the voter’s decision, repackaged the tax increase and is pushing it on us again.
- Mayor Kip Holden’s city-parish budget has increased by $118 million in four years. Now, he wants to increase spending and pass it on to us in the form of a NEW tax.
- The bond issue is a 30-year tax that will cost the voters $2.175 billion, based on Mayor Holden’s figures of $41 million annually from a 1/2 cent tax and $31 million annually from a 9.9% millage x 30 years = $2.175 billion.
- Mayor Holden and his entourage purposely kept critical information from voters and the EBRP Metro Council regarding land ownership problems that his proposed Alive! will be built upon.
- When Metro Councilman Joel Boe’ brought questions to the forefront that were important for voters to consider, Mayor Holden publicly flogged the councilman.
- Mayor Holden claims that Alive! will generate unachievable numbers of visitors annually. Meanwhile, the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum has shown a drop in annual attendance and state funding was cut resulting in shorter hours and increased prices.
- Details of the fees associated with the bond issue have not been revealed to date, yet voters are expected to pay a 30-year note without full disclosure.
- In 2007, we elected Sheriff Sid Gautreaux on the promise that he would do whatever necessary to save the voters $2.6 million annually on housing prisoners in facilities outside of EBR Parish including putting up temporary housing or tents at the parish prison. Not only has this not been done, he now wants us to build a new prison that will only accommodate an additional 550 beds which Francis Cauffman Foley Hoffman’s study says will only cover a three year increase in inmates. The tax we are paying, however, is for 30 years. Former Sheriff Greg Phares declared that a study done by Lensing and Maggio indicated that providing temporary housing would be more cost-efficient with only a slight increase for staff, food and beds. Gautreaux obviously ignored this study in order to support a tax increase negating another promise he made during his campaign to not increase our taxes once he took the reigns as Sheriff of EBR Parish.
- Consistent misinformation has been shared with the voters including statements made by Holden’s entourage. When questioned as to how much of the revenues will be derived from the 9.9% mill tax and 1/2 cent sales tax, “it is virtually 50-50” was their answer. (General Questions #6) Yet The Advocate indicates that the breakdown is actually 62% from the 1/2 cent tax and 38% from the 9.9% millage.
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.
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican