The latest installment of the 2019 Louisiana Survey, conducted by LSU's Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, mostly covers Louisianans’ perceptions and misperceptions of how they are taxed.
But buried in the results is a clear message that lawmakers might want to heed: A modest state gas tax increase for roads, bridges and other infrastructure, would be okay with many Louisianans. A more significant gas tax increase, less so.
Two-thirds of the people interviewed for the poll said they’d support a five-cent increase in the tax, which now stands at a combined 38.4 cents per gallon for both the state and federal share. But just under half, 46 percent, would approve a 20-cent hike.
The poll results arrive as the Louisiana Legislature is about to go into session, as Baton Rouge traffic continues to cause widespread woe, and as some advocates are talking of taking another pass as raising gas taxes to pay for road work.
The idea fell flat in 2017, when a bill to raise the tax by 17 cents by state Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, didn’t get a vote in either house. Carter and advocates such as the Louisiana Coalition to Fix Our Roads may try again during the upcoming session.
The bad news is that this is an election year, so lawmakers are likely to be even less inclined to raise taxes than they were two years ago, particularly after last year’s big sales tax vote.
When it comes to political attack ads, a tax is a tax, no matter how high or how widely accepted.