BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Time is running out, but Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome says she’s not slowing down to win support for her MovEBR tax plan, called PW Capital Improvements District on the ballot.
“We’ve probably completed, at minimum, 40 meetings throughout the city and parish, so we’ve really been pushing to get the word out,” said Broome.
The half-cent sales tax promises to raise $1 billion over the next 30 years and funnel the money into 70 projects Broome vows will ease congestion that has gripped the capital region for decades. “If we want better for our city and our parish, there are times where we will have to pay for it,” Broome added.
While almost everyone who has gotten behind the wheel in Baton Rouge can agree this may be one of those times, the proposal may still prove to be a hard sell come Saturday, Dec. 8. With other taxes littering the ballot and a pretty healthy distaste for taxes among voters, political analyst, Clay Young, believes it will come down to trust.
“It comes down to trust, but because of things in the past, you wonder if people will be motivated enough to support this,” said Young.
Because voter turnout for the Dec. 8 election is projected to be low, Young says the measure will likely be decided by how well the Broome administration can drive home its message in the coming days.
“I think there’s time to get people out, but they’ve got to be on their horse right now,” he added.
Opponents of the tax argue there aren’t enough specifics on which projects will be prioritized and some believe money can still be found elsewhere before resorting to a tax. The mayor though, says the proposal is a shared tax and the burden will not just fall on folks who live in the city-parish, but those who visit as well.
“Twenty-one percent of the people who will be paying it are people who come to this Capital City to either work or they come to eat at our restaurants, so it is equitable in that sense that it will be spread out among a great sector of individuals,” said Broome.
While she has gotten overwhelming support from much of the business community and other elected officials, Broome says she still wants to reach those on the fence about the potential fix. With just days left before the decision, she’s asking for voter trust and promising that MovEBR will deliver.
“This is an opportunity for us to change the trajectory of life and the quality of life for the citizens in our parish,” she said.