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Efforts to phase out temporary sales tax expiring in 2025 dead for legislative session

An effort to begin phasing out a temporary sales tax that is set to expire in 2025 is dead for the legislative session. The 0.45 percent sales generate about 400-million dollars in tax revenue for the state and Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau says the state can use that money on major projects.

Prairieville Representative Tony Bacala's bill proposed to begin reducing the temporary sales tax in 2023. Bacala says the goal of his legislation is to prevent a sharp drop-off in revenue and a significant budget shortfall. But Norco Senator Gary Smith says Bacala's proposal will actually cause more financial problems.

"It's just going to be giving the money back. It's going to put us in the unfortunate position of having to come back when this federal money dries up in the hurricane money, and the spending stops. We are going to be faced with the clip sooner, rather than later," explained Smith.

Smith is concerned Bacala's bill will produce budget deficits when a new governor and legislature take office in 2024.

Smith said, "We should be wise enough to do that without tying our hands or the future legislatures' hands when they get here next term..."

The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee rejected the House-approved bill.