Senate panel advances bill to dedicate $800 million in sales taxes to Louisiana roads, bridges

Greg Hilburn (Shreveport Times) – A bill that could eventually provide more than $800 million for Louisiana roads and bridges by dedicating the state’s temporary sales tax to infrastructure cleared a Senate committee Monday despite worries it could create future holes in the state budget.

Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City, would gradually divert money from the state’s 0.45-cent temporary sales tax that expires on June 30, 2025 to the Transportation Trust Fund — $168 million in 2022, $294 million in 2023 and $387 million in 2024.

Peacock said his bill would allow the state to wean itself from the temporary tax before it expires and noted the state has enjoyed recent surpluses.

The 0.45-cent tax was passed in 2018 during a budget crisis where higher education and healthcare were threatened because of revenue shortfalls.

“There won’t be another cliff because it tapers off,” Peacock testified before the Senate Finance Committee.

The committee moved the bill forward without objection, but not without concerns.

“Our job in finance isn’t to create holes,” said Sen. Mark Abraham, R-Lake Charles. “It’s going to create holes in the budget.

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