A Gas Tax Increase Couldn’t Really Pass…Could It? [VIDEO]
Daniel Erspamer, CEO of Louisiana's Pelican Institute think tank talks about the growing momentum among state legislators of both parties for a gas tax increase.
Erspamer was commenting on a proposal by Republican legislator Jack McFarland of Winnfield, who says he will front the measure when the legislature reconvenes in April. McFarland says that the hike could put as much as $300 million in state coffers annually and adds that Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas have recently increased their price per gallon.
Currently, Louisiana motorists pay more than 38 cents a gallon in taxes, 20 of those going to Baton Rouge. The McFarland plan would increase the price by a dime per gallon, then add another two cents every other year through 2033.
And who exactly is trumpeting the increase? "The people you hear it most from - unfortunately - are the folks who stand to benefit most from better roads, but I mean the road builders, Erspamer says. "No one thinks we don't need to do more work on infrastructure...but the fact of the matter is we are wasting money every single day on overhead and bureaucracy, things the current gas tax was never intended to pay for."
But watchers of the Louisiana legislative process say the tax increase will be a difficult sell to conservative leaning lawmakers. The McFarland bill - or any tax bump - would require a two thirds majority of both the state Senate and House of Representatives.