One Baton Rouge funded study shows proposed City of St. George operating at an approximate $5.2 million deficit in its first year.

LSU economist Jim Richardson and Public Administration Institute Director Jared Llorens.

We recently featured the proponents of a breakoff city of St. George when their representatives appeared before the Baton Rouge Press Club.  Today, it’s time to feature the opponents and their arguments.

First, the opponents are led by an informal organization called One Baton Rouge, which is spearheaded by political consultant Michael Beychok. The group paid $17,500 for the study, and Beychok said the money came from private donors.  Beychok stated that One Baton Rouge is comprised of between 24 – 100 individuals who share a common concern for Baton Rouge remaining together but emphasized that there is no “membership” to the organization.  He also emphasized that One Baton Rouge is totally separate and distinct from Together Baton Rouge, though he did not rule out the potential for there to be overlapping affiliations of individuals.

Let’s break out what the contracted folk who performed the study, LSU economist Jim Richardson and Public Administration Institute Director Jared Llorens, had to say as they presented the results of their study:


Dr. Richardson explains how the study came about (Darryl Gissel approaching him on behalf of “private citizens”) and Advocate reporter Andrea Gallo asking about One Baton Rouge’s composition and the cost of the study.

 


Dr. Richardson provides the study’s projection of revenues, expenditures, and deficit and responds to a question by Sound Off Louisiana founder Robert Burns entailing St. George proponents’ slamming of BRAC’s accounting skills.  A BRAC representative was present at today’s feature, and Sound Off Louisiana has extended an invitation to BRAC to refute on camera the statements made by the St. George proponents.  If they take us up on the offer, we will add it to this feature.

 

The actual study Richardson and Llorens conducted is supposed to be uploaded to the Baton Rouge Press Club website; however, as of the time of this publication, it has not yet been uploaded.  We’ll update this feature to provide a link once we observe it available on that website.  In the meantime, here is a quick table summarizing the variation of numbers Richardson discusses above:

 

City of St. George ProponentsRichardson/Llorens Study
Revenues         $58.4 million      $45.8 million
Expenditurs         $33.9 million      $51.0 million
Surplus (Deficit)         $24.5 million     ($  5.2 million)

 


Richardson and Llorens make their case for why they believe the St. George proponents’ touting of Sandy Springs,Georgia as a role model to emulate in a breakoff from Baton Rouge is misguided.


Although it wasn’t within the scope of the Richardson/Llorens study, which focused on financial impacts of a breakaway city (and they both politely indicated as much), one BRPC member nevertheless managed to drag them into a four-minute plus dialogue focused on St. George proponents having “white flight” and the creation of a city “unconcerned with racial diversity” as their motivations.

 

CLICK HERE for Richardson and Llorens’ presentation in its entirety.

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