Parish wants sand, gravel tax

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Washington Parish Councilman Mike Fussell is taking the parish’s crusade for the state to allow local governments to impose a sand and gravel severance tax on companies on the road.

Fussell said Monday he would soon meet with Tangipahoa Parish officials in an effort to enlist their support. Fussell and other councilmen have often bemoaned the fact that the overwhelming majority of gravel used in southeast Louisiana for construction and other purposes is taken from Washington Parish, but the parish receives nothing in return.

Fussell is also planning to take his proposal before the Louisiana Policy Jury Association during its annual meeting in February.

“We are trying to get everyone we can to support it,” Fussell said. “We can’t do it alone.

“We can get the regional support (from parish councils) but that still doesn’t mean the state will act on it. (The support) is a very small part of it. It will take a lot more than the policy jury recommendation.”

State legislators must vote to allow the severance tax to be imposed by each parish. Currently, there are no taxes on the state’s natural resources such as sand and gravel.

Earlier this fall the council introduced a resolution that proposes a severance tax on gravel and other material, such as sand, clay and topsoil. Washington Parish has historically been fertile ground for extracting all of those materials.

Although no estimated revenue figure has been established, parish leaders say they believe a sand and gravel tax would provide revenue to help offset the budget crisis. There is already a severance tax for lumber taken from the parish.

Councilmen recently discussed various ways to establish the fee if the parish would be allowed to impose it on the gravel companies. It appears the tax will be imposed based on by the pound or by tonnage.