The Raw Story reported that rich, white people in south Baton Rouge want to secede from the city and incorporate their own community called “St. George.” This prospect is the latest indication of class segregation in America.
The racial makeup of Baton Rouge is 55 percent black and just under 40 percent white, and certainly not every single white person in Baton Rouge is wealthy. Thereby creating a situation of the wealthy minority wanting to exclude itself from the American community and take everything with it.
The idea of Baton Rouge’s wealthy wanting to remove themselves from the city came about from a disagreement about school districting.
Louisiana State University economics professor Roy Heidelburg worked on a study with two other LSU professors on the economic forecast of St. George’s creation. Heidelburg said “If the entirety of their concern is about education, creating a new city is a very blunt and dangerous way of addressing it.”
According to The Advocate, such a secession would severely segregate the economy in the greater Baton Rouge area. The white rich in southern Baton Rouge make up about one-quarter of the city’s area. But if that portion broke away, they would syphon 40 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue, which would greatly skew the disbursement of municipal funds.
The Baton Rouge city-parish budget would drop 20 percent, $53 million, by the creation of St. George, mainly because the new town would be acquiring The Mall of Louisiana and Perkins Rowe, two of the state’s largest retail hubs.
Comparatively, the projected St. George population would be 107,000 with a 4.8 percent unemployment rate against Baton Rouge’s 230,000 residual residents with an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent. Baton Rouge’s average annual household income would be $30,000 less than St. George’s and 17 percent would be receiving SNAP benefits, compared to St. George’s 7 percent.
Essentially, the study illustrates drastic financial one-sidedness. The smaller group has most of the wealth and accrues most of the tax revenue and the benefits thereof. And since 25 percent of the population would be syphoning 40 percent of the sales tax revenue, that’s less money for Baton Rouge residents.
That means what funds they have left for municipal and county services is going to be stretched further and thinner among poor blacks in the northern portion of the city, further creating a wider racial and economic divide in a state containing an already large population of impoverished blacks.