News Worms
News Worms


Boost for Louisiana gas tax takes first step in Legislature

Boost for Louisiana gas tax takes first step in Legislature

House Bill 71 from state State Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, prevents "altering, removing, relocating, or destroying a memorial, including any structure, plaque, statue, or monument that is located on public property and that commemorates specified wars in USA history".

House Bill 632, sponsored by Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, received an endorsement from several business lobbies, but individual and small business owners generally were opposed. The tax then would rise periodically, tied to an inflationary index.

After the vote, all black members of the House walked off the floor in protest.

Louisiana has a $13 billion backlog of road and bridge fix and upgrade needs, according to the state transportation department.

But the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity is pressing committee members to reject the bill, and a poll last week showed two-thirds of Louisianans oppose it. That doesn't count the $15 billion wish list of new construction projects.

Another committee-added amendment would specify that 45 percent of the funds be dedicated to non-interstate payment projects, evenly among highway districts, in the state's parishes.

"My bill in its current posture is a flawless exercise of democracy", Carmody said on the House floor. He promised his support if there would be an "ironclad commitment" toward transparency, to which Carter and DODT Secretary Shawn Wilson agreed. They said working families are struggling in a state with one of the nation's highest unemployment rates and can't afford new charges at the gas pump.

Motorists in Louisiana now pay 38.4 cents in taxes per gallon of gasoline, including 20 cents in state taxes. He said suggestions from bill opponents that the state can make budget cuts elsewhere to shift dollars to roadwork are unrealistic.

Cecil Cavanaugh of the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge, which represents only small businesses, was confused as to why his tax money would be used to deepen ports in Baton Rouge he never used. Democrats in the House attempted to stack a series of amendments to the measure, including instituting automatic voter registrations and giving local governments the ability to put issues like raising the minimum wage and establishing equal pay to a vote among the people, if it also was to include the monument issue. It is over. We are one nation. The Governor, in addressing the media said that "the fate of that bill was decided long before we unveiled it".

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