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The Impact &
Consequences of the
St. George Incorporation

Public Assembly
February 4th, 2014
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To be informed about proposed incorporation,
we need to understand 4 things:
#1) The history of parish-wide investment i...
+

History of parish-wide investment
Before 1949: Two layers of government existed in EBR parish:
 a city government prov...
+

Reasons for Consolidation
1.

To eliminate duplication of government
services.

2.

To increase governmental efficiency...
+

History of parish-wide investment
In 1990, most population & tax revenue was in City of BR:
City of Baton Rouge

Uninco...
+

History of parish-wide investment

1992: “Horizon Plan” was adopted by Metro Council.
 Kicked off major investments in...
+

History of parish-wide investment
Before and after
Project #6: Mall of Louisiana
1989

Developed 1994 – 1997.

2013
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History of parish-wide investment
Before and after
Project #5: Siegen Lane Marketplace
1989

2013

Developed in 2002.
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History of parish-wide investment
Before and after
Project #4: Perkins Rowe
2013

1989

Developed in 2008.
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History of parish-wide investment
Before and after
L’Auberge Casino
1989

2013

Developed in 2012.
Results of parish-wide investment
All developed with significant
city-parish infrastructure
investments
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What’s being proposed?
Incorporating a city in the unincorporated
southeast of EBR Parish

Other unincorporated areas

...
Effect on city-parish tax base
Commercial outlets
were developed with
city-parish investment.
Majority of their sales
come...
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Economic Consequences of Incorporation
EBR city-parish budget is about $282 million
Proposed breakaway would
remove $85...
+

Economic Consequences of Incorporation
Would create an ANNUAL EBR city-parish
budget deficit of $53 million or …

20% o...
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Fact Check
Proponents claim deficit would be $14 million.
Claim is not a fiscal or legal assessment.
$14 million claim ...
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Consequences for EBR Employment Center
Southeast EBR is NOT our major employment center.
Distribution of Employment in ...
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Impact on taxes and public services
Only two ways to close a $53 million deficit:

Tax increases

OR

Service cuts

(20...
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Impact on taxes and public services
When city-parish
taxes are raised,

When city-parish
services are cut,

SOUTHEAST RE...
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A risky venture?
The volatility of sales taxes
According to the proponents’
proposal, 84% of new city’s budget
would co...
Percentage of Sales Tax in Other City Budgets
Portland
Austin
Sandy Springs
New Orleans
Birmingham
Little Rock
EBR-BR
Prop...
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Why sales tax revenue is volatile

The Advocate, 1/15/15,“EBR spending down in November”:
“Spending outside the city li...
+

A turf war over taxes?

“In essence, the proposed municipality would create
needless competition between cities that to...
+

Where did this idea come from?

Proponents tried twice to form breakaway school district.

They lost in the
legislature...
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Does the creation of the new city
guarantee a new school district?
No.
Every proposal for breakaway school district req...
+ If breakaway district does pass …
Impact on our schools
7,000 students would be displaced
from current schools
Displaced...
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Who are the displaced students?
Students with disabilities attending centers like
Southdowns School.
Students attending...
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Impact on our schools
Breakaway district would DECREASE per pupil
funding in EBR Schools from $9,635 to $8,870:

8% fun...
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School capacity issues
Public school seats in proposed city
 approximately 5,000
Students living in proposed city
 10...
+ Impact and consequences of St. George
incorporation and school district
A summary
#1) Would create a $53 million deficit...
+ It’s also a question of our values
Recent national and international headlines …

“Latest secession seeker: Baton Rouge'...
+

We have major issues we need to address
in our community.
But we’ve ALWAYS made more progress
when we work together, no...
+

Support Better Together
Sign up to get involved at:
bettertogetherBR.org
Donations can be made online or by mail to:
Re...
+

Our Values
 We will

not question the motives or intentions of
those with whom we disagree. We are opposed to the
brea...
+
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The impact and consequences of the St. George Incorporation

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  • wish there was more access to Siegen Marketplace. wish the frontage road extended to Pecue.
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The impact and consequences of the St. George Incorporation

  1. 1. + The Impact & Consequences of the St. George Incorporation Public Assembly February 4th, 2014
  2. 2. + To be informed about proposed incorporation, we need to understand 4 things: #1) The history of parish-wide investment in southeast EBR #2) The economic impacts of incorporation #3) The impact on taxes and public services #4) The impact on public education
  3. 3. + History of parish-wide investment Before 1949: Two layers of government existed in EBR parish:  a city government provided services for those living within the city proper.  a “police jury” handled parish affairs. 1949 : Voters approve consolidation of city and parish governments:  Mayor-President  Two overlapping but separate councils (City Council & Parish Council) 1982: Voters approve consolidation of city and parish councils into one Metropolitan Council.
  4. 4. + Reasons for Consolidation 1. To eliminate duplication of government services. 2. To increase governmental efficiency. 3. To reduce costs. Key fact Consolidated government brought about increased public services and public investment in the unincorporated areas.
  5. 5. + History of parish-wide investment In 1990, most population & tax revenue was in City of BR: City of Baton Rouge Unincorporated Area Sales & Use Tax: $62,609,350 Sales & Use Tax:$17,622,430 Total Taxes: $84,585,140 Total Taxes: $21,924,510 Investment flowed FROM City of BR TO unincorporated areas. (This aroused significant political opposition.)
  6. 6. + History of parish-wide investment 1992: “Horizon Plan” was adopted by Metro Council.  Kicked off major investments in southeast unincorporated area.  Prioritized 29 areas for economic development. Top projects included: #2 Burbank Dr at Gardere Ln #3 Perkins Rd at Siegen Ln #14 #4 Perkins Rd at Bluebonnet Blvd #5 I-10 at Siegen Ln #6 I-10 at Bluebonnet Blvd #7 Essen Ln at Perkins Rd #12 Coursey Blvd at Jones Creek Rd #14 I-10 at O’Neal Ln #2 #7 #6 #4 #5 #3 #12 ALL in southeast unincorporated area.
  7. 7. + History of parish-wide investment Before and after Project #6: Mall of Louisiana 1989 Developed 1994 – 1997. 2013
  8. 8. + History of parish-wide investment Before and after Project #5: Siegen Lane Marketplace 1989 2013 Developed in 2002.
  9. 9. + History of parish-wide investment Before and after Project #4: Perkins Rowe 2013 1989 Developed in 2008.
  10. 10. + History of parish-wide investment Before and after L’Auberge Casino 1989 2013 Developed in 2012.
  11. 11. Results of parish-wide investment All developed with significant city-parish infrastructure investments
  12. 12. + What’s being proposed? Incorporating a city in the unincorporated southeast of EBR Parish Other unincorporated areas 14,984 residents 13,895 residents 47,370 residents 26,864 residents 107,000 residents 230,058 residents Proposed city Proposed city would have twice the population of Baker, Zachary and Central combined.
  13. 13. Effect on city-parish tax base Commercial outlets were developed with city-parish investment. Majority of their sales come from residents outside proposed city. But if incorporation succeeds, their sales tax revenue would be diverted from EBR cityparish to new city. “Because sales tax revenue is a function of retail location, Baton Rouge residents will subsidize the new municipality.” --Analysis by Richardson, Heidelberg & Llorens, Louisiana State University
  14. 14. + Economic Consequences of Incorporation EBR city-parish budget is about $282 million Proposed breakaway would remove $85 million from EBR city-parish budget … … that’s 30% of entire city-parish budget.
  15. 15. + Economic Consequences of Incorporation Would create an ANNUAL EBR city-parish budget deficit of $53 million or … 20% of its budget Annual deficit in Detroit in 2012 … (year before its declared bankruptcy) 12.5% of its budget
  16. 16. + Fact Check Proponents claim deficit would be $14 million. Claim is not a fiscal or legal assessment. $14 million claim is … • a promise of a goodwill gesture … • to voluntarily transfer $39 million annually from one governmental entity to another … • made by private citizens with no official capacity … • on behalf of future elected officials, who would decide the matter for themselves. (We found no precedent in nation’s history for such a voluntary transfer from one municipality to another.)
  17. 17. + Consequences for EBR Employment Center Southeast EBR is NOT our major employment center. Distribution of Employment in EBR 110,000 jobs (70% of total) Economic engine of the region is located in City of Baton Rouge. Damage to jobs center of EBR city-parish would affect entire metro city-parish.
  18. 18. + Impact on taxes and public services Only two ways to close a $53 million deficit: Tax increases OR Service cuts (20% budget deficit is so large it probably would require both.) Property tax increase to cover a $53 million shortfall = 15 mil increase PARISHWIDE Service cuts would fall heavily on police and fire protection, which make up 40% of city-parish budget.
  19. 19. + Impact on taxes and public services When city-parish taxes are raised, When city-parish services are cut, SOUTHEAST RESIDENTS SOUTHEAST RESIDENTS also pay those tax increases. also receive those cuts. $53 million budget deficit would do economic and fiscal harm that would affect ALL residents.
  20. 20. + A risky venture? The volatility of sales taxes According to the proponents’ proposal, 84% of new city’s budget would consist of sales tax revenue.
  21. 21. Percentage of Sales Tax in Other City Budgets Portland Austin Sandy Springs New Orleans Birmingham Little Rock EBR-BR Proposed City 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
  22. 22. + Why sales tax revenue is volatile The Advocate, 1/15/15,“EBR spending down in November”: “Spending outside the city limits, which includes the Mall of Louisiana and big-box retailers on Siegen Lane, was down 8.3 percent.” Bon Marche 1960 Cortana Mall 1976 Mall of Louisiana 1997 Juban Crossing ?
  23. 23. + A turf war over taxes? “In essence, the proposed municipality would create needless competition between cities that today are one community.” --Study by Richardson, Heidelberg & Llorens, Louisiana State University
  24. 24. + Where did this idea come from? Proponents tried twice to form breakaway school district. They lost in the legislature in 2012 and 2013. Incorporating “St. George” is a POLITICAL STRATEGY to try to win more votes at the legislature.
  25. 25. + Does the creation of the new city guarantee a new school district? No. Every proposal for breakaway school district requires a return trip to the legislature and the passage of a constitutional amendment (2/3rds vote of legislature).
  26. 26. + If breakaway district does pass … Impact on our schools 7,000 students would be displaced from current schools Displaced Students: 6,996 787 787 students who live in City of BR and attend school in proposed city 6,209 students who live in proposed city and attend school outside 6209
  27. 27. + Who are the displaced students? Students with disabilities attending centers like Southdowns School. Students attending pre-K / K Centers outside the proposed city area. Students attending alternative schools. No Child Left Behind choice students All magnet and gifted and talented students attending school outside the proposed city. (Exception for current BRHS students no longer applies.)
  28. 28. + Impact on our schools Breakaway district would DECREASE per pupil funding in EBR Schools from $9,635 to $8,870: 8% funding cut Largest cut to school funding in BR history. Major redistribution of funds from lower-income, higher minority population to wealthier, whiter population. Likely would bring EBR back into desegregation litigation.
  29. 29. + School capacity issues Public school seats in proposed city  approximately 5,000 Students living in proposed city  10,327 EBR Public School Students  3,497 Catholic school students Southeast residents would face a major, and immediate, school capacity crisis.
  30. 30. + Impact and consequences of St. George incorporation and school district A summary #1) Would create a $53 million deficit in city-parish budget, 20% of total. #2) Would lead either to:  Increased city-parish taxes to cover deficit (which everyone, including southeast residents, would pay), or  Major cuts to public services, especially police & fire protection.  Probably both (due to scale of deficit). #3) Would displace 7,000 students from their current schools. #4) Would create an immediate school capacity crisis in southeast EBR. #5) Likely to require new taxes solely for residents of new city, to fund new municipal government, new school district and school construction. #6) Would likely result in dissolution of consolidated government.
  31. 31. + It’s also a question of our values Recent national and international headlines … “Latest secession seeker: Baton Rouge's richer side" - USA Today “Affluent, white residents of south Baton Rouge propose seceding from city’s poor, black northern areas” – The Raw Story “White, Wealthy South Baton Rouge Wants to Secede From Poor, Black Northern Areas” – The Root “Wealthy white residents of Baton Rouge launch campaign to split from poorer black areas to form their own breakaway city” Daily News (United Kingdom) "Richer White People in Greater Baton Rouge Seek to Secede From Poorer Black Neighbors" - Huffington Post Is this how we want to be seen across our country?
  32. 32. + We have major issues we need to address in our community. But we’ve ALWAYS made more progress when we work together, not when we separate ourselves apart. We are …
  33. 33. + Support Better Together Sign up to get involved at: bettertogetherBR.org Donations can be made online or by mail to: Residents Against the Breakaway P. O. Box 3717 Baton Rouge, LA 70821 Checks can be made out to “Residents Against the Breakaway” (a non-profit organization)
  34. 34. + Our Values  We will not question the motives or intentions of those with whom we disagree. We are opposed to the breakaway because of its effects on our community, not because of any motivations behind it.  We will base our positions on facts and evidence, not conjecture or invective. Our community needs more light, not more heat.  We will speak, write and act with respect. We believe citizens of good will can disagree without being disagreeable.
  35. 35. +

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