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Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, patiently waits at the lectern for a ruling by the Speaker as to whether his twenty cent gas tax increase amendment to SB57 was germane to the bill during legislative House action Monday June 5, 2017, in Baton Rouge, La.. The ruling was against the amendment.

In 1990, Louisiana voters passed a 20-cent-per gallon gas tax that was to be dedicated "solely" for the purpose of funding transportation projects. Since then, our Legislature has dipped into it for transportation employee salaries and funding highway patrols. The recently exposed payroll fraud by some of our law enforcement officers has me questioning, “Where is the oversight?" We are being buffeted by government officials saying, “There aren't  sufficient funds for the backlog of projects” and “We need to support increasing our gasoline taxes to fund these projects.” My response is, you need to be a good steward of the funds presently at your disposal.

Those that are guilty of payroll fraud should be prosecuted and be forced to repay what was stolen. Those responsible for overseeing them should be terminated. It’s a shame it takes an investigative reporter to expose this abuse. This means there is a dreadful lack of oversight, and I’m certain many taxpayers, like me, are concerned that this is a widespread problem. Most of us have to watch our dollars, shop wisely, look for good deals and try to save what we can along the way. Every time our taxes are increased, it takes from what we have available to spend on our families. Any government official that wonders why we are so anti-tax needs to get his head out the sand and open his eyes…

Greg Thompson

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