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