Is a Louisiana Gas Tax Hike on the Way?
After this past summer, it's hard to imagine gasoline prices going much higher. Gas prices were ridiculously high across the nation, reaching over $7 a gallon in California. It wasn't quite as bad in Louisiana as we averaged around $4 and a half dollars a gallon.
But a new report from the Legislative Auditor says the money generated from our state gas tax isn't enough to keep up. When you buy gasoline in Louisiana, 20 cents of each gallon goes into a fund for roads, bridges, and other transportation needs. But that tax was set over 30 years ago and is not indexed for inflation. Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson says he agrees with the Legislative Auditors' findings.
“But it highlights the fact that the reality of how we fund transportation is changing. That we need an all of the above approach and the legislature has responded with the vehicle sales tax,” Wilson says.
According to Wilson, thanks to a new law which starts next year, up to 60 percent of the vehicle sales tax you're already paying will now be used for transportation projects, up to $300 million dollars per year. But the state has a $15 billion dollar backlog, and needs more revenue to even begin to catch up.
“And it is going to take a new approach to saying ‘how do we deliver all of the projects that the community wants’, or accept the fact that we cannot necessarily have everything that we want or accept the fact that we cannot necessarily have everything that we want and only begin to deliver what we need,” he says
The audit further says that other states adjust their gas taxes for inflation, but Louisiana doesn't. Earlier in the year, lawmakers approved an annual fee for owners of hybrid and electric vehicles.
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