Senate Committee rejects St. George bill

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Senate committee killed a bill that would have created the St. George Transition Authority. The entity would have been able to at some point collect taxes earmarked for East Baton Rouge in advance of the incorporation of the city of St. George. The "Incorporate St. George committee" has been working with Sen. Bodie White, R-Baton Rouge, on the issue.

"What this transition district does is basically just get ready for a new city to transient into being an incorporated area from an unincorporated area. That's basically what it does," White testified to in Senate Municipal and Governmental affairs committee on Thursday.

The City of Baton Rouge opposes the formation for St. George. They say it could cost the city and parish millions. "This is anywhere from a $68 to $100 million dollar hit to the city parish," argued William Daniel Baton Rouge's Chief Operating Officer.

"The size and magnitude of this incorporation is not only unlike anything that has ever been seen in Louisiana, but it's never been seen in the entire United States," added Daniel. All we're  going to be doing is duplicating services. We're going to have to have a new mayor, a new city council, a finance department, and a new public works department. It's inconceivable to me that the answer to a conservative movement is create more government." says Daniel.

But White countered that there are many people in favor of the new city.

"I can tell you I haven't had anyone to come up to me and tell me to go tell everyone that you need to go tell everybody to quit doing the incorporation from that area.  I haven't had anybody tell me that," says White.

"Their intention is not to bankrupt Baton Rouge as some people stated that's not their intention."

The bill failed 4-1.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.