By Robert Mann
Three of the four candidates for Louisiana governor spoke out Monday against the SAVE Act, the controversial $1,500 tax credit that Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state’s Senate have approved to offset revenue increases for Louisiana higher education.
Without the “offset” tax credit imposed on Louisiana college students, Jindal cannot claim to have never raised taxes, the bill’s supporters argue. As Jindal’s aides admit, the governor devised the legislation after consulting Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
The Louisiana Senate has approved the legislation. Last week, however, the House Ways and Means Committee refused to send the bill to the House floor. House members and some senators have complained that the credit is a sham because no student would actually pay it. Jindal created it, they say, only for the purposes of an “offset” that meets standards created by Norquist.
Today, I contacted the campaigns of all four major candidates for governor, asking for their candidate’s position on the SAVE Act. Only Sen. David Vitter has not yet responded to my request for comment.
State Rep. John Bel Edwards: “I couldn’t care less whether ATR and Grover Norquist rescind approval of the SAVE Act fictional offset — just as it mattered not to me that Jindal touted their approval of the patently ridiculous gimmick in the first instance. SAVE is the worst fiscal legislation I have seen in eight years for a variety of reasons, and it is certainly unworthy of our people. Nothing Jindal, Norquist or anyone else can change that.”
Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle: “The SAVE bill is unnecessary and does nothing to solve our long-term structural budget problems. It is simply another gimmick, when what we need in Louisiana is a game changer. Louisianians are tired of political smoke and mirrors; they want real solutions to real problems that affect real people.”
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne: “It’s embarrassing that we have to ask permission in order to enact a budget in Louisiana. I am sick of Washington elites and Washington politics running our budget debate. And some want to keep doing it. I will be a Louisiana man. I’m not afraid to do what’s right for Louisiana even if it makes Washington political brokers mad.”