Garey Forster: If we want good roads, the best way to pay is property taxes

Article III of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 is a sacred pillar: taxes can only be considered in legislative sessions in odd-numbered years.

Louisiana has a $14 billion backlog of road and bridge work. Traveling anywhere in Louisiana, you see — and feel — that the transportation need is significantly greater. For the economy to grow, commerce must be able to move goods and services quickly and trouble-free within and across the state.

Those are the opposing political and economic realities.

Great transportation infrastructure needs require new approaches, but the solution on the table for 2021 is problematic as well as outdated. New dedicated taxes will be necessary to fix our problems because legislators will not be able to carve out enough existing revenues to fix roads and bridges.about:blank

Jack McFarland, a state representative from Winnfield, plans to follow the old unsuccessful formula of trying to raise the gas tax next year and each year after for six years. His legislation would increase the gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon initially. His crystal ball predicts $300 million a year will be collected.

The state gas tax would increase 2 cents a gallon each year after until the increase reaches 22 cents, for a total of 42 cents per gallon. Current Louisiana tax on gasoline is 20 cents per gallon.

Louisiana is at the lower end of the spectrum, with Alaska the lowest, taxing only 14.4 cents a gallon. The highest states are Pennsylvania and California at over 50 cents a gallon. Both of those states continue to increase their gas taxes.

The feds add another 18.4 cents tax per gallon of gasoline, so in Louisiana we pay a total of 38.4 cents a gallon in gas taxes. But a new Democratic administration might jack up the federal … Continue Reading Full Story


Email Garey Forster at Garey.Forster@gmail.com.

GAREY FORSTER IS FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE LABOR AND INDUSTRY COMMITTEE IN THE LOUISIANA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND A FORMER LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF LABOR. HIS COLUMN RUNS WEEKLY. EMAIL HIM AT GAREY.FORSTER@GMAIL.COM.

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