LA SALES TAX OPPOSITION — In 2018 Louisiana lawmakers passed a less than half-cent (0.45%) sales tax to stabilize state finances. At the time the state was facing budget shortfalls and supporters of the bill pledged the tax hike would be temporary so lawmakers could work on a larger tax overhaul. Three years later, Republican state Senate leaders instead are proposing to keep the tax on the books permanently and steer the dollars to the $15 billion backlog of road and bridge work. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing yesterday. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing yesterday Port Allen Republican Senator Rick Ward explained the reasoning behind the proposed change.
"We fixed our budget, we are on a good path," Ward said. "But now we need a new committment, we need to fix our roads and fix our bridges. There's no way we're going to be able to compete not even around the country, just with the states in the Gulf South if we don't do something."
Although some committee members voiced opposition to HB514, citing anticipated federal infrastructure dollars from Congress, the vote came out 7-4 in favor to send the proposal to the full Senate for debate. However, the House's Conservative Caucus released a statement calling the Senate proposal irresponsible. The caucus includes 41 GOP lawmakers and their opposition could doom the proposal’s chance of passage as the bill requires a two-thirds vote.
The temporary sales tax is set to expire in 2025.