1. The bill creates taxation without representation.
Incorrect. The bill transfers taxing authority from EBR Parish to the St. George Transition District. This is not a new tax. This tax already exists. What the bill does is make sure that the 2% sales tax collected in St. George is spent in St. George. If St. George is successful in litigation, the authority would then transfer to the new city. If St. George is unsuccessful, the authority reverts to EBR parish. When St. George wins the litigation, an argument could be made that EBR Parish illegally collected that tax without authority. Not passing this bill could subject EBR Parish to litigation which could result in multi-million-dollar liability.
2. The bill is premature; can’t we wait until after litigation?
No, according to EBR Parish’s bond counsel during Senate Committee hearings last year. As stated in that hearing, EBR Parish’s authority to levy and collect that 2% sales tax expired when the election results were certified on November 23, 2019. Thus, as stated above, EBR Parish may be illegally levying and collecting taxes in the St. George area without authority. Talk about taxation without representation. Despite what Sen. Barrow incorrectly asserted numerous times, the judge does not ask the organizer of the incorporation when the incorporation date should be set. This precedent was established in the City of Central litigation. There, when the court rendered judgment declaring the City of Central incorporated, the incorporation date was set retroactively back to the date the election results were certified. In other words, when St. George wins the lawsuit, the incorporation date will be November 23, 2019.
3. The transition district is going to impair EBR Parish bonds such as the drainage bond and the Old Woman’s Hospital Bond.
Incorrect. The bill has no effect or bearing on parish-wide bonds. This bill only effects the 2% sales tax collected within the boundaries of the City of St. George. St. George does not leave the parish and continues paying parish-wide dedicated taxes and property taxes. Anything said to the contrary is incorrect. In fact, Central’s success has led to EBR Parish’s success. Central was able to contribute $4 million upfront for the drainage project (which is a partnership of federal, state, and local dollars) because of responsible government and management while EBR Parish was forced to bond out $8 million. Central enjoys a top 5 in the state school district year in and year out. Central has doubled its revenue since incorporation which pours additional revenue back into EBR Parish that would not have existed without incorporation.
4. Why don’t you work with EBR Parish?
We’ve tried. EBR Parish has publicly and privately stated they are unwilling to work with the City of St. George. If the transition bill does not pass, St. George citizens could see further retaliation from EBR Parish by withholding tax dollars collected in St. George and denying services to its citizens.