GONZALES — Two local chambers of commerce have thrown their support behind a road tax in Ascension Parish.
The Ascension Chamber of Commerce and FuturePAC, a political action committee associated with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce, both endorsed the 25-year, half-cent sales tax on the Nov. 6 ballot in Ascension Parish. The proposal is expected to fund approximately $155 million in traffic infrastructure improvements.
Initially, the Ascension chamber said it intended to remain neutral regarding the tax proposal, but after a presentation by parish government officials, the board decided to endorse the initiative.
“As a member of the business community, we would urge your support of this initiative when you vote as well,” Ascension Chamber board chairman Czarina Walker and President Sherrie Despino said in a letter to the organization’s members.
The letter said infrastructure is a major component for economic development, and the lack of traffic infrastructure in Ascension Parish is one of the major issues facing the parish today.
“We would like Ascension to be known as the community that moved decisively to help ease congestion and help move our area forward by passing this very critical piece of legislation that will allow Ascension Parish to fund the road construction projects that we need over the next 25 years,” the letter said.
The Ascension chamber isn’t the only one supporting the road tax. FuturePAC, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s political action committee, announced it also was endorsing the tax, saying the tax addresses transportation infrastructure needs in one of the fastest-growing parishes in the state.
Voting in favor of the road tax will encourage growth in both Ascension Parish and the Capital Region, said Scott Wester, FuturePAC’s board chairman.
The Ascension Republican Parish Executive Committee opposes the tax plan, saying the parish government doesn’t need any new taxes for roads.
“Government does not need more of our money,” the committee said in a news release. “They need to manage the resources we’ve given them.”