A penny doesn't seem like much money at all. Most of us have a jar or drawer or compartment in our car that is loaded with pennies. We very seldom use pennies anymore in our transactions. It's my understanding that it actually cost more to make a penny that the coin is actually worth. However, this small round piece of legal tender could play a big part in Louisiana's budget crisis.

Currently in the special session of our Louisiana Legislature the hired help, the legislators, are debating the value of that penny in the form of a one cent sales tax increase.  Granted a penny isn't much but when you put a lot of pennies together that adds up to dollars and in this case the legislature is projecting about $216 million of those dollars from all those pennies.

Chris Broadwater a Republican Representative from Hammond serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.

His greatest concern about the proposed one cent sales tax seems to be this. Is this a temporary measure to get our state over the budget hump or is the legislature trying create a new permanent source of revenue.

Should this have a hard sunset date so that we'd have a finite amount of time to do that, and don't kick the can down the road without discussing significant structural changes that need to be made.

Representative Broadwater made his remarks in a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network.  Mr. Broadwater said the one cent sales tax supported by Governor Edwards isn't the only revenue bill being explored by his committee. He said that increased taxes on cigarettes and alcohol are also being considered.

Lawmakers have until March 9th, the end of the special session, the solve the state's $950 million dollar budget shortfall. These tax increases and cuts across the state budget are currently being debated and must be resolved by the end of the session if our state is going to remain economically solvent.