From the office of the Parish President

Kenny Matassa Ascension Parish President
Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa

     The regular legislative session is in full swing and we all continue to monitor ups and downs of the state budget. I don’t envy the budget mess facing the Legislature and Governor Edwards. Thankfully, through careful budgeting and concern for the taxpayer’s money, parish government has an available general fund balance of $9 million. I do know, however, that Ascension Parish is well represented in Baton Rouge and that our legislative delegation is well suited for the task at hand. As I review various bills under consideration, I’d like to draw your attention to one bill in particular that I strongly support.

     House Bill 630 by Representative Tony Bacala of Prairieville would require that 25 percent of the state gas tax be remitted back to the parish from which it was collected. Further, HB 630 would require parishes to spend that remitted tax revenue on road projects. This is exactly the sort of legislation we need to increase the money available to get road projects done. Let’s take a look at the current dedicated funds for roads in Ascension Parish. There is a half-cent sales tax dedicated to roads, which generates approximately $9 million each year. We estimate the recently enacted transportation impact fee will generate approximately $2 million each year. If Representative Bacala’s bill becomes law, Ascension Parish would see an additional roughly $4 million dedicated to roads each year.

     This is $4 million you already pay into state coffers that will instead stay right here at home. My administration would use that $4 million as matching funds to seek after federal transportation grants that could double or triple those funds, which would allow us to do major road projects. It’s a great bill for Ascension Parish roads, and I hope you will support it.