By Robert Mann
It’s too late in Jindal’s term to consider impeaching him, but signing this traitorous pledge should be grounds for a governor’s removal from office. Any candidate for governor in 2015 who puts his or her signature on this pledge ought to be immediately disqualified from holding public office (that’s actually an excellent idea for a constitutional amendment).
Signing Norquist’s pledge is tantamount to handing over the state’s tax policy to an unelected lobbyist who lives elsewhere and cares nothing about Louisiana’s well-being. Jindal has pledged that he will let his state’s vital institutions collapse and disappear before he will raise taxes. The pledge actually allows no provision for raising taxes, even in the event of an emergency or catastrophe.
Consider the following language on ATR’s website: “There are no exceptions to the Pledge. Tax-and-spend politicians often use ’emergencies’ to justify increasing taxes. In the unfortunate event of a real crisis or natural disaster, legislators should cut spending in other areas instead of aggravating the situation.”
Knowing this, Jindal signed the pledge and promised that no event in Louisiana, no matter how serious or devastating, would ever prompt him to raise taxes.
Jindal has sold out Louisiana for the fool’s gold of Norquist’s seal of approval, somehow believing it might be legal political tender in places like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Instead, he is mired at 1 percent in the national polls and his job approval rating in Louisiana, among those who know him best, has slumped to an embarrassing 27 percent. That’s basically his immediate family and staff (and the LSU Board of Supervisors).
If you read nothing else today, I recommend the lead editorial in the New Orleans Times-Picayune | NOLA.com. It’s a powerful indictment of Jindal’s betrayal of Louisiana. Here’s a taste:
Even with Louisiana facing a $1.6 billion gap in next year’s budget, Gov. Bobby Jindal can’t come up with solutions without checking with Americans for Tax Reform for permission. His administration has made that clear to legislators. “The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR), in speaking to a group of legislators where I was present, plainly stated, in no uncertain terms, that the administration won’t agree with any proposal which doesn’t get the seal of approval from ATR and the Governor will veto any proposals that don’t have the ATR’s approval,” Monroe Republican Rep. Jay Morris said in a recent email to supporters.
Rep. Tim Burns, a Mandeville Republican, has expressed similar frustrations on his blog in the past week. “If Louisiana has to depend on national groups to bail us out of our problems, then God help us. The good news is that I have been in discussion with many of my colleagues in the legislature and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and tackle our fiscal problems, despite the Scarlet T.”
The Scarlet T, of course, stands for taxes.
Americans for Tax Reform, which is a conservative political advocacy group based in Washington, has given Gov. Jindal a thumbs up on a partial repeal of a state inventory tax credit. But the group has nixed other possible tax credit revisions.
Gov. Jindal isn’t the only one to pledge his fealty to Americans for Tax Reform. Twenty-six state legislators made the no-tax promise to the group. But some of them see the folly of sticking with the pledge.
“It was stupid on my part,” Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, said of signing the pledge.
“I’m more worried about the people of Louisiana than a document from out of state,” Sen. Fred Mills, R-Breaux Bridge, said.
If you haven’t had your morning coffee, you might want to grab some decaf, instead, and read James Carville’s letter to the editor in the LSU Daily Reveille. This is the journalistic equivalent of a double shot of espresso. Here’s a sip:
[T]he Governor and Legislature constantly refer to how can they maintain their purity, or as it is sometimes referred to, their ‘tax virginity.’ You have to be kidding me. This reminds me of two over-sexed teenagers dry humping in a backseat of car parked behind a levee wondering how far they can go while maintaining their purity or virginity. We are literally at the mercy of buffoons and comedians. While they’re humping, our university burns. Our only recourse is to stand up and fight for ourselves. Geaux Tigers.