For Jindal, if the choice is tax hikes vs closing LSU, it’s “Bye, bye LSU”

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By Robert Mann

I was talking with a friend the other day about Louisiana’s massive budget shortfall and the threat it poses to higher education, in general, and LSU, in particular. I observed that, eventually, Jindal’s loyalty to his no-tax-increase pledge to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform would trump everything. In other words, if Jindal is forced to choose between raising taxes and letting LSU go under, it will be, “Bye, bye, LSU.”

My friend, who has one of smartest political minds I know, disagreed. Ultimately, he said, Jindal’s cronies on the LSU Board of Supervisors would trek to the Governor’s Mansion for a serious heart-to-heart with the governor. They would tell him the truth. They would tell him the game over was.

“Nice play, governor,” they will tell him. “You held onto the no-tax line for as long as humanly possible, but this is reality. You either support some tax increases, or our state’s flagship institution will cease to exist.”

Faced with that choice, my friend said that Jindal would finally relent. The potential press backlash in places like Iowa and New Hampshire would be so devastating that Jindal would have no choice but to break his pledge, raise a few taxes and save higher education.

Perhaps that is how the scenario will play out. But, as someone fairly close to Jindal told me today — and I’m paraphrasing here — “We worked hard, lined up all the right legislators behind a plan to raise the tax revenue to save higher education and Jindal has already undermined much of the deal by threatening to veto the state budget if it has tax increases.” 

Indeed, on Thursday, Jindal threatened to veto the state budget if it is balanced using tax credit suspensions, which can be passed by joint resolution and do not need the governor’s signature.

If you’re Bobby Jindal and you’re spending about 95 percent of your waking hours each day plotting your path to the White House, you know one thing: No governor who raises taxes will succeed in the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire or South Carolina primaries.

If Jindal signs a tax increase, his campaign is over (yes, I know, it’s already over, but Jindal doesn’t know that).

If you’re Bobby Jindal, campaigning among rabidly conservative Republicans in Iowa, which is worse: closing or crippling some institutions of higher education (they just employ a bunch of overpaid liberal professors who indoctrinate our youth, right?) or signing a series of bills to raise taxes?

That is a rhetorical question. The answer for someone like Jindal is simply this: You. Never. Raise. Taxes.

Read his lips; he meant it when he swore his oath of allegiance to Grover. Jindal will not raise taxes.

In fact, he will go to Iowa and brag about how many more government workers he took off the payroll. All those former professors, instructors and staff members will just become talking points in a Jindal speech about how he reduced the size of government.

There are still many people — quite a few in the Legislature, I’m sure — who believe that LSU and the rest of higher education are too big to fail. Eventually, there will be a bailout, they say.

My answer to that?  The people who once worked at Lehman Brothers thought the same thing.

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22 Responses to For Jindal, if the choice is tax hikes vs closing LSU, it’s “Bye, bye LSU”

  1. Pingback: For Jindal, if the choice is tax hikes vs closi...

  2. Richard Ehrlicher says:

    Bobby Jindal doesn’t care about Louisiana, he doesn’t care about LSU. and he doesn’t care about you. He cares about Bobby Jindal. Only. And he want’s to be POTUS. He is a classic sociopath. He’d push his grandmother off a cliff, with a smile on his sick face.

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  3. William Adams says:

    The legislature can override the governors veto? That override would give the governor political cover and keep the universities from closing before the state elections. Higher Ed. gets their funding and Jindal stays true to his no tax pledge.

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    • Robert Mann says:

      Legislators can indeed override a governor’s veto. However, it’s only been done once or twice in the past 20 years. Historically, they do not have the courage to defy a governor, even in his or her final year in office. Let’s hope they will finally muster the courage to do it this year, if necessary. It may be our only hope.

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      • jrtax2014 says:

        It is in their laps too. Republican leaders are hiding behind this difficulty, when in fact they are as responsible for the problem as Jindal. They support the destruction of LSU as well. They would have shown leadership on the matter by now if they did not ultimately support LSU’s destruction.

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  4. Joe Delatte says:

    I wonder if that means that social services and healthcare for the needy would go to pot.

    Thanks for your fine contribution to journalism in this state.

    J D

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  5. Gene Sands says:

    Bob, no matter what Jindahl doe now, it’s too late. LSU’s national reputation has suffered a serious blow and it will take years, if ever, for it to regain it.

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    • Robert Mann says:

      Yes, Gene, I’m afraid you are correct. Very sad.

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    • Hannah says:

      LSU is my alma mater, but I moved to Pennsylvania for a job at Penn State. Up here, when I tell people I went to LSU, they say it’s a good school. They’re actually impressed by my credentials.

      In fact, the general consensus is that budget problems are occurring everywhere and are just accepted as fact rather than something that diminishes a university’s reputation. Maybe I am missing something, but I think the government of Louisiana has lost more reputation than LSU. So, there is some hope for LSU’s legacy at least. It’s not completely dead…yet.

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    • Hannah says:

      LSU is my alma mater, but I moved to Pennsylvania for a job at Penn State. Up here, when I tell people I went to LSU, they say it’s a good school. They’re actually impressed by my credentials.

      In fact, the general consensus is that budget problems are occurring everywhere and are just accepted as fact rather than something that diminishes a university’s reputation. Maybe I am missing something, but I think the government of Louisiana has lost more reputation than LSU. So, there is some hope for LSU’s legacy at least. It’s not completely dead…yet.

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  6. Emily L. Kay says:

    It’s pitiful and disgusting that the legislators don’t have the courage to do what’s right for the people of this state. I’m amazed at how much control this governor has over our elected officials. They all seem to be so scared of him, but what can he really do to them at this point? I say pass the needed tax reforms/increases and override his veto. Higher education is too important to torture it this way.

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    • Fredster says:

      Emily, when it comes down to votes by your local members of the lege, remember how they voted on these issues and if it’s important to you, remind them at election time.

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    • Stephen Winham says:

      Absolutely, Emily!!! Something a lot of people forget is that legislators have to vote to NOT come into a veto session. By law, a veto session is automatic, otherwise. The fact the last veto session was during the Roemer administration shines a bright light on legislative cowardice and abrogation of power. So, you and William Adams are both right.

      If ever there was a time to do specifically what you suggest, it is now. And, if you think about it, it would be a win-win for all concerned. The legislature could show courage and enhance its image; the governor could use the legislature as his scapegoat while preserving his ridiculous pledge of allegiance to Norquist; and, best of all, the public interest would actually be served.

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  7. earthmother says:

    Clearly jindal does not give a rodent’s rear about education, a decent future for our young people or any other quality of life issues for Louisiana citizens. So what if LSU does not open in the fall? Those students can either leave the state or find a menial job. But how is jindal ever going to explain to the well-heeled owners of expensive RVs and high dollar condos at the gates of LSU that no students/no university = no football season?

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  8. June Butler says:

    Sadly, I believe you’re right, Bob. I don’t see Jindal doing a last minute rescue before the caucuses and primaries in the 3 states. The citizens of the state are held hostage to the sacred pledge to Grover Norquist which must not be broken.

    Sort of off topic, but I wonder if donations to Jindal’s campaign are drying up, thus his desperate attempts to stand out from the crowded GOP field by appealing to the most extreme of the extremists with his latest screeds against gay marriage and “bullying” corporations.

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  9. Ken Burk says:

    As a proud graduate I, too, am disgusted over what Jindal and the legislature have done. The legislature will do nothing and in a year or so Jindal at least Jindal will be out of our state and lives. I am not a big watcher of sporting events, but a good question is what happens to LSU sports? Do the TIgers just become a college team without an associated college? That would certainly be interesting.

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  10. William Adams says:

    Join with me, students, alumni and supporters of LSU this Thursday, April 30th for a March On The Capital. The march will start at the A.Z. Young Park around 12:00 pm.

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  11. Pingback: Reader’s heartfelt distress over the plight of our state under Jindal comes through in emotional letter to LouisianaVoice | Louisiana Voice

  12. Louis Sparks says:

    You may sign the following petition:

    “We the undersigned demand that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal make every effort to forgo the bankruptcy of Louisiana State University and the bankruptcy of the system of public not-for-profit state schools of higher education in Louisiana. We demand that Jindal reverse tax breaks extended to corporations so as to raise revenue for LSU and Louisiana’s system of public not-for-profit universities.”

    at the following URL: http://www.petitions.moveon.org/sign/prevent-lsu-from-going/

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