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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Louisiana Economic Development

A small town article written by Mike Hasten in Baton Rouge made its way to the associated press on December 11, 2006. Mr. Hasten said “we are drowning in our own traffic.” Allowing parish governments to split state automobile sales tax revenue instead of it going into the general fund could finance local road projects without raising taxes, a group of Lafayette lawmakers and Treasurer John Kennedy said. After all the state went through in 2005 this idea looks like a prosperous one, to get roads rebuilt without the tax payers really feeling the pinch. The officials know the people of Louisiana are not going to pass a bill that is going to cost them big time, so this proposal is away around that.

Currently, an average of $273 million from automobiles sold across the state goes into state coffers, Kennedy said, and it could be better used by improving the roads used by the people who pay the taxes.

If the bill is approved, “it would have a real economic impact across the state,” he said. “Let parishes do what they know needs to be done,” instead of having to wait for projects to work their way through the state Department of Transportation and Development priority program.Michot said areas that picked up the most hurricane evacuees: Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and the North Shore area of Lake Pontchartrain are choked by the extra traffic and need additional funding to improve roads. So it’s not only the cities that were catastrophically destroyed by the hurricanes but also the residents of these cities fled somewhere and mostly to other large cities in Louisiana, and these cities are greatly feeling the pinch of all the extra traffic.

I thought this was a great article because there are many implications that tie directly to the class and what we have talked about with taxation, economic development, and just how different markets rely on other markets. I personally think this idea would be efficient if it really passed and got going, but it’s a relief on the tax payers of that region.

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