Two minutes into any conversation about the economics of the recent Sewer Project in our capital city, you’ll quickly notice a subtle yet strong foul aroma filling the room.
The reality of this project costing taxpayers over $1.3 billion dollars – BILLION DOLLARS – more than four times the proposed amount promised by our leaders, is not only a disgrace to fiscal responsibility, but a clear symptom that priorities are misguided in this great city called Baton Rouge.
And now we have the proposed CATS TAX on April 21st.
The Capital Area Transit System is proposing a 10.6 mil property tax at the enormous tune of $184,000,000 million over the next 10 years.
A bus system which from inception has proven to be a typical government-run failure of gigantic empty diesel guzzlers forcing 3,900 daily riders to wait 75 minutes for a ride and then giving them a tour that compares only to Gilligan’s Island- taking almost three hours to reach their destination.
Twelve million dollars – $12,000,000 – per year is not enough. They want $18,000,000 more, for a total of $30,000,000 per year, for 10 years, in order to deliver these residents to their destination in a descent amount of time.
I could spend several toners of ink expounding on how this proposed property tax will not only:
- Burden every home owner in the cities of Baton Rouge, Baker and Zachary with added taxes,
- Place added costs upon every business in an already vulnerable economy,
- Oppress every renter with added expenses,
- Pit neighbor against neighbor as some will pay the tax while others will not,
- Increase taxes by 79% on our poorer residents while exempting some who live in million dollar homes,
- Become a power-grab of $30,000,000 dollars per year to an exclusive group of liberal NON-elected Board member who will never have to give account to taxpayers,
but I wont.
Instead, I will simply point you to one reason – the main reason – why you should vote against this proposed CATS Bus Tax:
Forcing $184,000,000 out of our earnings TO ADDRESS A NON-VITAL NEED WHILE IGNORING KEY & VITAL NEEDS is a horrible misguidance of priorities.
Let me expand on this.
Amongst several factors that cause cities to become great, one stands out above the rest.
It is the ability to properly analyze and acknowledge their own needs.
This skill, we do not possess very well.
While the proponents of this CATS tax have revealed several valid needs within their own system, this does not validate trumping more relevant systems of our city.
When residents are asked what issues keeps them up at night – wondering and worrying – everyone usually answers with the same sequence: Crime, education and traffic.
The fact that our crime fighting units, both the enforcement arm, and the legal arm, are in dire needs of additional funding is an understatement.
The fact that our teachers are terribly underpaid and that resources are continually sought to improve our students’ needs, has been proven for decades.
And the fact that traffic congestion is a constant irritation to every commuter within these three cities, has already become an accepted aggravation.
So, for CATS to now tell us that the internal needs of this one area, which is not ranked in the top 3, should trump the needs of 100% of all residents in the most critical system of our city, is at best, a misguided priority.
Therefore, based on this one reason alone, this CATS Tax proposal should be defeated on April 21st.
Only then will our leaders come together and prioritize the true needs of our community, and find solutions within their given resources.
Otherwise, the same foul aroma of Big Government & wasteful spending will continue to plague our great capital city… for at least 10 more years.