Writer calls on Ascension Representatives to “Restore Trust” and vote against Gas Tax Increase

Gas Tax Increase Bill fails to restore trust of Louisiana citizens

This week, I had the displeasure of attending the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee, where I witnessed politicians do what they do best: talk for 5 hours about a major issue, Louisiana’s crumbling infrastructure, argue about how to fix it, and then cave to pressure from well-paid lobbyists to pass a bill making the problem even worse.

HB 632, by Baton Rouge Rep. Steve Carter, would nearly double the state’s gas tax, to $0.37 on every gallon of fuel we buy to raise a half-billion dollars, ostensibly for road repair and construction. Over 30 citizens were present to express their opposition to the bill, and many testified that the increase, which would cost the average family over $400 a year, would harm them personally. Others testified to the lack of trust in the state to spend the money correctly- according to a study by CRISIS, a group supporting the tax increase, the state only uses 11% of the Transportation Trust Fund Dollars for road repair and construction.

Legislators repetitively stated their desire to restore the trust of voters. That’s why it is disappointing to me that legislators then advanced the bill, even after my local Rep. Clay Schexnayder added an amendment that would give each legislator a pot of money from the fund to use as they see fit on projects in their district. This harkens back to the dark days of Congressional earmarks and politicians using our hard earned dollars for pet projects, while the projects we need struggle to attain funding. Instead of taking politics out of transportation funding, this bill will only worsen the problems.

I applaud our Representatives for carefully considering and searching for ways to solve our infrastructure crisis. This bill fails to address that issue, and I call on Rep. Schexnayder, and all of our Ascension Representatives, to vote against it on the House floor and work on solutions that will truly fix our roads and bridges.

Polly Broussard

Gonzales, Louisiana

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