Baton Rouge, LA (PPN) – A meeting at the Metro Council on Wednesday ended after four of the Democratic council members stormed out of the room after a request was made to delay a property tax that was approved by voters in November 2016.
Although the voters have already said yes, Republicans still requested a 30 day delay in order to verify spending plans. Once this tax is approved, more funds will be allocated to the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging.
The debate went on for a hour and a half.
Councilmembers LaMont Cole, Erika Green, Chauna Banks, and Donna Collins-Lewis left the meeting, forcing it to end.
Due to their departure, voting on the tax has now been deferred for 60 days.
Green released the following statement after the meeting:
To the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish:
It is extremely unfortunate we were placed in a position to not continue the business of City Parish Government. The integrity of the will of the people was being challenged by an attempt to prevent a millage from going forward as approved by YOU, the voters in November of 2016. We could no longer sit and allow democracy to be compromised under our watch, on this day. We will continue to stand with the people, protect the democratic process forward as approved by YOU, the voters in November of 2016. We could no longer sit and allow democracy to be compromised under our watch, on this day. We will continue to stand with the people, protect the democratic process and support a free and fair election.
Chauna Banks, Metro Council District 2
Erika Green, Metro Council, District 5
Donna Collins – Lewis, Metro Council District 6
LaMont Cole, Metro Council District 7
The EBR Council on Aging is still expected to receive tax revenue next year.
Council on Aging Executive Director Tasha Clark Amar was called by Councilwoman Chauna Banks to the podium. Amar recited Bible verses while many in the crowd murmured in agreement.
“It is well,” Banks recited. “I want you to know it is well. Not because you’re perfect, nobody is perfect. But because God knew when he chose you that you would make errors in this process, like we all do. But that’s why he went to the cross….”
Before she could finish, Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wilson asked Banks to stay on topic.
Other democrats continued to express why they feel that the pushback is not beneficial.
“What is 30 days going to do?” asked Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis, “What is ‘taxpayer protection?'”
The purpose of the meeting was to vote and approve on the dedicated property tax that was already approved by the citizens of Baton Rouge.