In last Tuesday’s Advocate, Belinda Creel Davis said that the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge “will target for defeat any Republicans in elected office who vote to roll forward millages.” That statement is untrue.
The parish Republican Party took a strong position against the roll forward of property taxes because it is a tax increase without a vote of the people.
The Republican Parish Executive Committee is elected by the Republican voters of the parish in March of each presidential election year. Before each election, any Republican candidate may seek the endorsement of the Republican Parish Executive Committee, which researches the candidates’ records and interviews those seeking endorsement. After interviews, the 17-member executive committee votes on whether to endorse a candidate. If a candidate gets a majority, that candidate is endorsed. More than one candidate can be endorsed. If a candidate does not seek the endorsement, the GOP takes no position on his candidacy.
In no case does the Republican Party of EBR “target” a Republican candidate for defeat.
Regarding Operation Stop the Roll Forward, the parish Republican Party was successful in stopping $2.1 million in new property taxes this year, or $8.4 million over four years.
The statement by Davis that the Republican Party supported the sheriff’s roll forward is not true. The party opposed in principle the roll forward by all agencies. However, we focused on trying to defeat those we had a chance to defeat. Out of more than a dozen roll forwards, we actively testified against about half. In the sheriff’s case, we met with him and asked him not to roll forward his millage. He explained his office’s budget shortfall and his efforts to hold down costs in the face of a massive crime problem. Our members believe the Sheriff’s Office is doing an outstanding job and that the funds are much needed. So we publicly stated that we understood the need for the funding but disagreed with the method of raising it.
The Republican Party continues to maintain that rolling forward property taxes without a vote of people is bad public policy. All tax increases should be submitted to the voters for their approval. We intend to propose a state constitutional amendment that will stop the practice of rolling forward property taxes without a vote of the people.
Woody Jenkins, chairman
Republican Party of East Baton Rouge