W riter Robert Heinlein quipped that there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government emergency. Yet, in Lafayette this year, there is the very rarest of birds — a temporary tax that is actually temporary.

It is a novel idea, although not unique: A 1-cent sales tax will be levied in the parish for eight months, from April 1 to Nov. 30 of next year. The money will be used to put in place about a third of the cost of a significant and much-needed expansion of the airport.

That $37 million, combined with state and federal grants and other airport revenues, will jump-start the project that will add gates and parking to the 1950s-era airport.

The idea of a temporary tax is not entirely new. The people of Lake Charles used it some years ago to fund renovation of their old Central School into an arts complex. It is unusual, but we think that’s a selling point. It is for a dedicated purpose and a relatively short time.

Lafayette is a national center for oil and gas exploration, and other businesses and new growth expand the demand for air travel all the time. The tax is a novel idea, but the need for the airport project has been there for a long time.

We urge Lafayette citizens to approve the tax on the Dec. 6 ballot.