BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Sales tax revenue for the first quarter of the year rose 7.5 percent over last year in East Baton Rouge Parish, suggesting the city-parish could end up with additional money above its budget for the year.

The Advocate reports ( some council members are encouraging Mayor-President Kip Holden's administration to free money for law enforcement, summer youth programs and other needs.

However, Holden, who last week celebrated what the administration called "a sales tax boom" for the month of March, said his office would be cautious in deciding what to do with any extra cash.

"We are still analyzing where we are in regards to sales tax collection," Holden said. "We are also looking to see what we could do in the areas of police, fire, EMS, and needed infrastructure. Whatever we do, however, we are going to maintain a cautious approach to make sure we maintain the conservative fiscal policy that we have followed for the last eight years which includes having adequate reserves in case of any emergency."

When the sales tax numbers were released recently, Holden issued a statement celebrating the increases. He attributed the boost to the U.S. Bowling Congress, which began in February and will end in July, and to the growing film industry.

"This is great news for the city of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, but it's no accident," Holden said of the increase in sales tax revenue. " Our economic development strategies are truly paying off at the cash register for our local business economy," he said.


Information from: The Advocate,