Bill exempting municipalities from East Baton Rouge taxes pulled

    Saying it wasn’t worth the fight, a Baton Rouge-area lawmaker is no longer pursuing a prefiled bill that, if approved, would have essentially exempted municipalities in East Baton Rouge Parish from approved parishwide taxes or tax renewals if a majority of voters within the municipality rejected the tax at the ballot box.

    The legislation, authored by state Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, proposed that—in parishes with a population of more than 400,000—a tax or tax renewal approved in a parishwide election would apply only to municipalities within the parish if a majority of voters in the municipality approve it. The only parishes with populations above 400,000 are East Baton Rouge and Jefferson.

    In other words, if voters in the city of Central, for instance, rejected a parishwide tax or renewal that otherwise passed, taxpayers in that city would be exempt from paying the tax.

    White, however, told Daily Report this afternoon he is no longer pursuing the legislation because he “doesn’t feel like fighting that fight.”

    The only exception to the proposed law would have been for taxes dedicated to funding sheriffs, other parishwide law enforcement services or emergency medical services, according to a draft of the legislation.

    There’s another legislative effort still alive this session that applies directly to East Baton Rouge Parish—state Sen. Yvonne Colomb’s Senate Bill 63, which would permit all voters in East Baton Rouge to weigh in on the city of St. George incorporation, rather than just those who reside in the designated unincorporated area, as current law allows.

    Colomb’s bill, which has received heavy pushback from St. George proponents, provides an exception for parishes with a population of more than 440,000—which is only East Baton Rouge—that allows a parishwide vote in a special election to determine whether an unincorporated area shall become its own municipality.

     

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