The Louisiana Conservative Caucus, consisting of 41 members of the Louisiana House of Representatives, has made its first formal policy decision by opposing the Senate amendment to House Speaker Pro-Temp Magee’s (R – Houma) House Bill 514. House Bill 514 narrowly passed the House to impose a sales tax on crude or raw medical marijuana. Last week Senator Rick Ward (R – Port Allen) added an unrelated amendment to make the “temporary” 0.45% general sales tax permanent and direct that revenue to the DOTD without mandating any reforms. Ward’s amendment would make permanent a “temporary” sales tax increase that was passed in 2018 with the promise of expiring in 2025 to give legislators time to reform the state’s budget and spending.
The Conservative Caucus is dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to the recurring problems that plague Louisiana including infrastructure and the upcoming budget deficits projected by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Prior to the Conservative Caucus’ formation, its members were already active in finding sustainable solutions to increase funding for infrastructure without raising taxes. If the legislature is serious about increasing funding for infrastructure and putting the people’s best interest first, the Conservative Caucus will support the following pieces of legislation that have been sitting idle in the Senate:
– House Bill 40 by Representative Mark Wright (R – Covington), a founding member of the Conservative Caucus, would move almost $500 million to infrastructure over 5 years by simply shifting DOTD employee costs out of the Transportation Trust Fund. Wright’s legislation would permanently increase funding for infrastructure without raising a single tax on the hard-working citizens of Louisiana.
– House Bill 511 by Representative Jack McFarland (R – Winnfield), a founding member of the Conservative Caucus, would move over $700 million to infrastructure over 5 years by simply spending tax dollars where they were originally intended. This legislation moves the vehicle sales tax from the general fund to infrastructure, a practice that was stopped during Governor Jindal’s administration. Besides permanently increasing funding for infrastructure without raising taxes, this legislation also mandates an audit of the DOTD and implements an infrastructure transparency website similar to what Texas has.
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