Louisiana Editorial: Gas tax increase long overdue

Louisiana legislators at their 2019 fiscal session should increase the state’s 20-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, but the odds of that happening are slim to none. Those taxes haven’t been increased since 1989, and that 20 cents is worth only about 7 cents in today’s money.

That isn’t the worst of it either. More than 4 cents of the 20 cents is dedicated to pay off the TIMED program until 2045. So, less than 16 cents goes to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. TIMED was a program that funded four-laning of major highways.

Gasoline taxes have been raised in 27 states since 2013. Seven of them are in the South. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said those increases are helping reverse losses in gas tax purchasing power caused by rising construction costs and improvements in vehicle efficiency.