The rich, white folk who live in Baton Rouge, La., want to secede and form their own town called St. George.
Or at least that’s how their critics are articulating the initiative, the BBC reports. The secession, of sorts, is being sold as a well-intentioned plan that will allow St. George’s hypothetical residents to gain more control over how their tax dollars are being spent to improve public education and other services. But because St. George’s racial makeup would be 70 percent white, skeptics are seeing the initiative as nothing more than a new-age attempt at white flight or a gerrymandering of sorts.
“Opponents insist that the proposal is also motivated by race and class. They point out that the new city of St. George would be 70 percent white—and that the mainly poor and black community in the rest of Baton Rouge would face crippling cuts to education if it lost the taxpayers who provide most of its revenue,” the BBC explains.
Also noteworthy: “The median household income for the proposed new city is $30,000 higher than in the city of Baton Rouge,” the BBC video report points out.
In order to put the proposal on a local ballot for a vote, the campaign needs 20,000 signatures, and it’s already gotten approximately 18,000.
While most of the supporters of the split are touting the economic advantages that it would afford St. George’s new residents, there are some members of the business community who are leery about the fracture. “Some major business interests in the community, including a casino, have said they would rather stay part of the parish,” the news site said.
Read more at the BBC.