By Robert Mann

The promise is simple. Candidates for public office and incumbents often sign the following pledge, as composed by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform:

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In Louisiana, three statewide elected officials have signed the pledge: Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. sens. David Vitter and Bill Cassidy. Several dozen other legislators have signed it, as well, including state Senate President John Alario (speaker Chuck Kleckley has not signed it).

This pledge is one reason why Louisiana’s colleges and universities may collapse this year. Without additional revenue, LSU and other schools will virtually cease to exist.

Despite this, Jindal will not violate his pledge. His oath to ATR is more important than his oath of office. He will allow Norquist to dictate which revenue bills violate the pledge and which don’t. Indeed, much of what the Legislature may pass in the coming legislative session to balance the state’s budget might fail because Jindal will almost certainly follow Norquist’s instructions and veto those bills.

But what about those running to replace Jindal? Will they tie their hands before they take office? Will they pledge to never raise tax, not even in the face of an emergency or natural disaster?

“I have no intention of signing it,” Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne told me by phone. “My loyalty is to the people of Louisiana.”

Ryan Cross, spokesperson for Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle’s campaign, told me that Angelle would not sign the pledge. State Rep. John Bel Edwards’ spokesperson, Mary Patricia Wray, said Edwards would refuse to sign the pledge.

David Vitter signed the pledge as a U.S. senator, but his campaign provided this statement to me on Wednesday afternoon: “I’ve made it crystal clear that, as Louisiana’s next governor, I’ll make Louisiana-based decisions that are best for us here, not ones based on what some Washington group dictates.”

6 thoughts on “All major candidates for Louisiana governor say they will refuse Norquist’s anti-tax pledge

  1. Well…kudos to those three who have stated they will not sign “the pledge”. My next question to them would be: “if you indeed need to ask for taxes (or fees) to be raised (and they surely will), who will most of those taxes fall on; the middle and lower income groups or those who can more easily afford them?”.


  2. Why wouldn’t any tax increase (and I am firmly against increasing taxes in a State that gives away a refundable earned income credit) be evenly applied to all citizens? Surely those who pay no net taxes aren’t going to sign a pledge to stop consuming resources, so why shouldn’t everyone pay?


  3. So, the original pledge Senator Vitter signed will be invalid if he becomes governor? And it was okay to pledge allegiance to Grover when in the U. S. Senate while allegedly representing the same constituency as the governor? You have to pledge allegiance for each office held? His official statement is almost as ridiculous as the statement attributed to state senator Robert Adley in the T-P:

    “State Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, referenced the “guardrails” set up by the Americans for Tax Reform when looking at solutions for Louisiana’s dire transportation funding situation during a task force meeting Wednesday (March 5). Adley, who hasn’t signed the “no tax” pledge, said he was only considering proposals that would meet the national advocacy group’s requirements.”


  4. It’s not as though The Pledge is legally binding. And it’s not as though violating it would reduce Piyush’s already non-existent chance to become president.

    So, the only explanation for his refusal to tell Grover & Company to take a flying leap is that he really thinks it’s a good thing to impoverish Louisiana’s public institutions.


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