BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Despite approving one of two tax measures needed, voters in East Baton Rouge Parish ultimately decided not to expand the Green Light Plan.
Voters in EBR voted 'yes' on the rededication of a half-cent sales tax that would be used exclusively to provide funds to repair and construct public roads on a pay-as-you-go basis, and to construct community enhancement road projects throughout EBR including the cities of Baker, Zachary, and Central. 53% voted yes, while 47% voted 'no,' with a margin of victory of a little over 6,000 votes out of a total of 107,540 votes.
However, voters also said 'no' on the proposed 30-year, 5-mill property tax that would generate about $20.2 million per year for improving existing public roads and constructing new public roads throughout the same areas. Opposite of the approved rededication of tax, 53% voted 'no', while 47% voted 'yes,' with a margin of victory of less than 5,000 votes out of a total of 108,315 votes.
Homeowners in EBR with $200,000 homes that take homestead exemption would have paid $62.50 a year for the roads property tax if were approved by voters. The property tax was expected to generate more than $600 million over its 30 year lifespan.
Both tax proposals dealing with the updated version of the Green Light Plan needed to be approved by voters in order for either to be effective, so ultimately both measures failed.
The Green Light Plan was initially implemented in October 2005, with the evacuation and ultimate relocation of many to EBR in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Voters approved that measure by a wide margin, with nearly 67% of voters saying 'yes,' making it the first major road construction program since the 1964.
In the wake of the August floods and the continued road congestion, Green Light Plan 2 looked to accelerate the projects unfinished by the first plan and fund the construction of several more projects.
Due to one of the proposals failing, the current Green Light Plan continues as is. The half-cent sales tax expires in 2030.
Sharon Weston-Broome, the newly elected mayor of EBR, was a supporter of the new Green Light Plan, while her opponent, Bodi White, supported the initial Green Light Plan.