A late session sleight-of-hand stupidly supported by some of the Louisiana Senate’s most conservative members may provide the first test for the House of Representatives’ new Conservative Legislative Caucus.
At the start of Wednesday, HB 514 by Republican state Rep. Tanner Magee applied sales tax to medical marijuana. But when it hit the floor that afternoon, Magee allowed its hijacking by amendment to make permanent the sales tax hike instituted first in 2016 and supposed to expire over two years later, but which in part got extended to 2025. Over the next three years its avails gradually would be diverted to roads construction until by the time it would have expired the entirety would go to that object. It also delays giving back the entirety of a tax on manufacturer use of utilities.
The bill lists several projects that would receive priority, which have appeared as distinct line items in several bills this session, to where three-quarters of the avails should go until these reach completion. This larding of pork appeared to appease several senators, particularly GOP state Sen. Barrow Peacock who was mentioned as a collaborator on the radical change and whose SB 1, stalled in the Senate, would take a much more reasonable approach of diverting the tax increase for roads but with it expiring as intended.