Proposed new city of "St. George" could have major consequences

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) released a report Sunday afternoon addressing the possible impacts if the new proposed city, "St. George" is created within the southern region of East Baton Rouge Parish.

A team of economists from LSU were brought in to research how the parish would be affected financially if the new city would be added in order to help residents make informed decisions through the petitioning and voting process. Research shows that the separation would have crucial consequences for the city of Baton Rouge.

It would take away about $85 million, or 30%, from the parish's general funding, which is mainly supported by sales taxes produced by retail stores based on their location, even though people from all across the parish pay sales taxes.  For example, the Mall of Louisiana is a regional shopping location that would be located in the proposed city of St. George.

The new city could also mean higher taxes to make up for lost revenues, and it could lead to a great reduction in public services such as police protection, which takes up 29% of general funding.

Funding for the East Baton Rouge School System would be cut even more than the separated district because the area of the proposed city would be geographically larger with major retailers that produce sales taxes from people across the parish.

It could also jeopardize retirement, economic development and job creation efforts.

The statement released included the following statement from the BRAC and BRAF:

"BRAC has been a strong and consistent advocate for reforms that improve public schools throughout the parish and the Baton Rouge Area and supports every resident working to improve student educational opportunities through positive solutions that both bring the community closer together while at the same time empowering parents at the local level.

"While BRAC and BRAF have not taken a formal public position on this proposed new city, the research compiled in this report raises a number of complex and complicated questions about whether it is the best approach.

"Both organizations are taking the time to review this comprehensive analysis, with the hope that citizens both inside and outside the proposed new city will also study the facts about the financial, fiscal, economic, and socio-economic implications of this proposal in order to make an informed decision."

If you would like to view the highlights of the report in full, you can visit the BRAC website or click this link:

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