Editor: CATS tax vote no example of a community coming together
When the 10-year property tax to support the cash-strapped Capital Area Transit System was recently approved by voters in Baton Rouge and Baker—but roundly rejected in Zachary—some supporters were nonetheless quick to call it an example of an often divided community coming together for the greater good. Business Report Executive Editor JR Ball doesn't see it that way at all. In his latest column, Ball says the precinct-by-precinct poll results actually show a community that remains significantly divided along racial lines and continues to be driven by self-interest. "Black voters overwhelmingly approved the tax hike, while a strong majority of white voters did not. The net result was easy passage in the majority black cities of Baton Rouge and Baker and a lopsided defeat in majority white Zachary," Ball writes. "The truth is, we've become a parish balkanized by self-interest, with each special interest group out to secure dedicated revenue so that other special interest groups can't take it. The concepts of shared interest, compromise and the greater good are all but extinct. We don't mind this self-serving reality when it achieves our goal, but we abhor it when it achieves the goal of another." Read the full column here, and send your comments to [email protected].
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