“href =” https://www.law360.com/tax-authority/articles/1350124/# “> Paul Williams ·
The Louisiana governor said he would not support a proposal to raise the state’s long-stagnant gas tax rate this year, citing the financial hardships families and businesses are facing due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards said on his monthly radio call-in-show Thursday that he would not endorse a plan to increase Louisiana’s 20 cents-per-gallon excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, a plan that is expected to be discussed when the legislative period begins in April. He also said he doesn’t think a bill to increase the tax rate would bring the two-thirds support needed to pass the House and Senate through the public health crisis.
“I’m not going to support that this year,” Edwards replied on the Louisiana Radio Network program when asked about his stance on the gas tax increase.
A gas tax hike bill had not been pre-tabled for the session through Friday, but Rep. Jack McFarland, R-Jonesboro, did agreed to wear the legislation expected to be known as the Government Reform in Transportation (GRIT) law.
The GRIT bill provides for an immediate 10 cents hike in gas tax, followed by a 2 cents hike every two years through 2033, according to a preliminary round-up by the Louisiana Coalition to Fix Our Roads, a group of more than 100 companies and Organizations that plan to work towards this. In addition to increasing the gas tax, the bill would impose fees on electric and hybrid vehicles.
The coalition believes that an increase in infrastructure funding and an increase in the Louisiana gas tax rate, which has been the same since 1990, are overdue. According to the coalition, 31 states have increased their infrastructure funding since 2013, and the condition of roads and bridges in Louisiana ranks 48th nationwide.
In November, the coalition announced that the bill would raise $ 300 million in annual infrastructure funding immediately and more than $ 700 million annually by 2033. The measure would also be subject to review by an independent commission by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in 2023, making recommendations to improve the agency’s operations.
A January report by the American Petroleum Institute said Louisiana’s state taxes and fees per gallon of 20.01 cents for fuel are below the national average of 36.83 cents for gasoline and 37.85 cents for diesel. Carl Davis, director of research at the left-wing Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, told Law360 in November that Louisiana’s current fuel tax rate, indexed to inflation in 1990, would be 41 cents a gallon.
Resilient Louisiana, a task force that Edwards set up to figure out how to recover from the pandemic, recommended the state in November Increase in fuel taxat least temporarily to generate more income for transport investments.
On Friday, his office asked Law360 if Edwards would support an increase in gas tax after the pandemic subsided and referred Law360 to his remarks on the radio program.
Erich Ponti, the coalition president and former republican state representative, told Law360 Friday that he believes lawmakers will warm up to the GRIT bill, in part because he said Louisiana’s street funding levels are too low to support federal programs that Matching offer to take full advantage of revenue. He said Louisiana must be ready to accept any infrastructure funding that could flow to the state from President Joe Biden’s administration.
“With the new momentum in Washington, we have to be ready to raise additional federal funding that will fall,” said Ponti. “Our transportation system constrained our state’s economy prior to COVID-19, but we now have the opportunity to literally lay the foundation for economic prosperity in the future.”
Ponti was referring to the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
Senate President Patrick Cortez, R-Lafayette, was unavailable for comment Friday.
McFarland and the office of House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
– Adaptation by Vincent Sherry.
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