Never have I read such an effective rebuttal of the writer's own argument as Jeff Sadow's April 23 column.
He writes “With the state facing about $13.1 billion in backlogged infrastructure maintenance and a projected…..list of $16 billion more”, Gov. John Bel Edwards has the audacity to want to raise the gasoline tax, which Sadow then goes on to point out is one of the lowest rates among states and hasn’t changed in three decades. He goes on to add that the state will miss out on federal matching funds of $137 million.
One would think that any person of modest intellect would conclude from these facts that an increase in revenue would be both timely and desirable. But not Sadow. He argues that we should be “altering our spending priorities.” Given that health and education are the only programs where the state allows discretionary cutting, I assume that this is what he is referring to. After all, both are so flush with cash. He does offer other useful suggestions. Airports and seaports might charge more user fees. I don’t know why Winn Parish has never thought of this. Another helpful suggestion is to reduce statewide flood control to $12 million. I would conclude from this suggestion that he has a hilltop home. Sadow seems to always say that he prefers user fees to taxes, apparently without noting that anyone buying gasoline is de facto a user of highways and is thus a user. Why else would they be buying gas? And is a user fee anything more than a tax by another name? His final and most absurd argument is “In arguing that overly congested Louisiana roads (his words) will fall apart without higher taxes, advocates of the idea are putting local governments and special interest ahead of taxpayers statewide.” Isn’t it the case that special interests are those who use the roads. This thereby nullifies his entire argument that taxpayers should not have to pay for the roads. So once again Sadow has undermined his argument as effectively anyone could.