JR Ball: Big cities, like Baton Rouge, are a financial mess, too

    The prospect, bluntly stated in his last column, of allowing Louisiana’s insolvent small towns to simply fade away—rather than use a state taxpayer bailout to keep false hope alive—brought a swift reaction, writes Business Report Executive Editor JR Ball in his new column.

    Those, like himself, who’ve never called home to a place where the population never fails to top six figures, were just fine pulling the plug on decaying four- and five-figure hamlets like Bogalusa and Sterlington, arguing it’s the fiscally expedient thing to do in an adapt-or-die world.

    Then there were those who either still cling to life in one of these towns, have idyllic memories of days past, believe government spending is a fix-all or “have an actual heart,” as one emailer suggested.

    Members of this irate group didn’t so much make the case for a rural renaissance, rather than transfer blame. A promised highway was never built. A canal didn’t get dredged. We built it (a baseball complex), but they didn’t come. Thanks, Obama.

    Yet somewhere in the belligerent, zero shades of grey world that is social media, our website’s comments section and, to a lesser degree, email, those less than enthusiastic with my position did pause the expletives long enough to raise a valid point: Is the fiscal health of Louisiana’s big cities any better?

    They aren’t, Ball writes, but they also haven’t slipped into the same death spiral. Yet, it’s clear the financial pictures of Baton Rouge, New Orleans and the state’s other large cities aren’t especially pretty. Read the full column. Send comments to editor@businessreport.com

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