President Biden to visit Louisiana to pitch infrastructure plan, state Republicans resist
Joe Biden has scheduled his first trip to Louisiana as president, planning to visit Lake Charles and New Orleans Thursday as part of an ongoing whistlestop tour to sell his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan to Congress and the American public.
The White House hasn't yet released details of the trip.
Louisiana's crumbling infrastructure is among the worst in the nation. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state's infrastructure a D+ grade in its 2021 report card.
"The conclusion is not a surprise but more an alarm that over the course of the last five years, (Louisiana's infrastructure) has detreated further," the engineers said in their report care. "Our infrastructure is poorly maintained, inadequately funded and not designed to meet tomorrow’s demands. Consequently, the state is at a disadvantage and will continue to lose its economic competitiveness."
What plans look like:Tax reform, infrastructure among Louisiana business community's priorities in 2021
Though there is universal agreement America's infrastructure needs an upgrade, Republicans say Biden's plan is too expensive with too little of the funding directed toward roads and bridges, and they're critical of the proposed tax increase on businesses to pay for it.
In addition to traditional infrastructure projects, the president's "American Jobs Plan" would also provide money for elder home care, broadband, affordable housing and other Biden priorities.
Biden is unlikely to find Congressional support in Louisiana, where Republicans dominate the state's delegation with both senators and six of seven House members.
"When you increase taxes and you increase government control, you destroy investment and job numbers suffer," Louisiana GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy recently said during a committee hearing.
Cassidy and other Republicans are proposing a less expensive compromise.
"It should be bipartisan when we do something about infrastructure," Cassidy has said.
Louisiana's electorate also remains deeply Republican.
Though it has elected Gov. John Bel Edwards for two terms as the Deep South's only Democratic governor, former President Trump beat Biden 58% to 40% in November's election.
Biden would raise the corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28%. The rate had been as high as 35% before former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans cut taxes in 2017.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1