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Gas tax increase long overdue

December 9, 2018
In The News

Louisiana legislators at their 2019 fiscal session should increase the state’s 20-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, but the odds of that happening are slim to none. Those taxes haven’t been increased since 1989, and that 20 cents is worth only about 7 cents in today’s money.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana Coalition to Fix Our Roads is kicking off a $500,000 campaign to force another debate on the gasoline tax issue in 2019.

Eric Ponti of Baton Rouge, a former state legislator and executive director of the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association, is one of the leaders of the 35-member Fix Our Roads group.

“Basically, it is a social media campaign,” Ponti told The Advocate. “There is so much information and misinformation that it is a long, slow educational process to get the facts out there.”

The administration of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is not publicly linked to the coalition’s campaign. However, the governor’s critics will be quick to blame Edwards for any talk about raising taxes.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, RAlto, who said he is going to run for governor in 2019, couldn’t wait to say something had to be done about Edwards loving to raise taxes. What the governor’s critics refuse to admit is that governors don’t raise taxes, legislators do.

Some critics have accused the governor of raising $7 billion in taxes since he took office, which is a wild figment of their imaginations. Edwards inherited a $2 billion deficit when he took office in 2016, and legislators agreed to raise $1.4 billion in temporary taxes to close the shortfall.

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