BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Mayor Kip Holden put much emphasis on the St. George breakaway movement during his State of the Parish speech Wednesday and the leader of that effort has issued a response to Holden's comments.
Norman Browning, the chairman for the St. George Committee, released a statement later in the day.
"It was extremely disturbing to hear his comments," he said in part in the written release. "He's supposed to represent the parish, not only the city."
Holden said the effort would split the tax base of the parish.
"The way to do that is not to cripple the strongest local economy in the state of Louisiana and one of the strongest in the nation," Holden said. "The way to do that is to work together to fix what is broken."
Below is the full statement from Norman Browning:
Mayor Holden had the opportunity and platform to address the legitimate concerns of 107,000 residents of unincorporated areas of the parish. Instead, he chose to dismiss their concerns, belittle St. George supporters and vilify the incorporation movement leaders through factually inaccurate rhetoric.
On multiple occasions the mayor referenced this movement as nothing more than a small group of people looking to bankrupt the parish. In truth we are the voice of tens of thousands of families that have been taken advantage of and totally forgotten.
The mayor inaccurately claims that St. George will bankrupt the parish but never addressed the fact that the city of Baton Rouge takes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from the parish every year and spends it on the city. St. George may be the one thing that can save East Baton Rouge Parish from itself.
We will continue to ramp up our efforts to put this on a ballot and let the voters be heard.