James Lee from Americans for Prosperity talks about a Louisiana Senate vote to make the temporary sales tax passed in 2018 a permanent one.

On Wednesday that body voted 27-10 in favor of a proposal that would make the state’s temporary sales tax rate permanent, passed three years ago, then move a portion of that money to fund state transportation and infrastructure projects.

"At the beginning of the session there was a real push to raise the gas tax," Lee explains, "But once (legislators) saw how much money was coming down from the fed, they realized they really didn't need to raise taxes this year for infrastructure...but they decided to tack on a permanent extension of the temporary sales tax that was passed in 2016 and extended in 2018.

"That (temporary) tax doesn't expire until 2025, but here they are, here in 2021, trying to permanently extend a $400 million a year sales tax on the people of Louisiana."

The measure, introduced by Republican Rick Ward of Port Allen would make that temporary tax rate increase permanent and use that money to pay for the state's road and bridge projects. Some projects that would be funded would include a new bridge over the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, an Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles and as detailed in a Friday morning interview with KEEL News, a new, four lane structure to replace the aging Jimmie Davis Bridge over the Red River connecting Shreveport and Bossier City.

The irony of the vote, Lee says, is that north Louisiana's three GOP Senators, Barry Milligan, Robert Mills, Barrow Peacock voted in favor of the proposal, while the area's Democrat Senator, Greg Tarver, voted nay.

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