Louisiana senators want temporary sales tax to be permanent

Louisiana News

Economist Stephen Barnes, left, and Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, both members of the Revenue Estimating Conference, review income projections ahead of the conference’s meeting Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. The conference increased the income forecast for the current and upcoming budget years, giving lawmakers more money to spend. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana lawmakers passed a 0.45% sales tax in 2018 to stabilize state finances and pledged the tax hike would be a temporary bridge to balance the budget.

But three years later, Republican state Senate leaders are proposing to keep the tax on the books permanently and steer the dollars to road and bridge work.

Critics are crying foul. They say the proposal being pushed in the waning days of the legislative session would renege on a promise made to residents.

Backers of making the tax permanent cite the state’s $15 billion backlog of transportation projects. The debate is expected to be hashed out this week in the Senate Finance Committee.

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