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.”

6 thoughts on “Edwards, Angelle, Dardenne speak out against Jindal/Norquist SAVE credit

  1. Norquist’s response makes this entire situation even more ludicrous. Our legislators are elected to govern our state for the benefit of Louisiana citizens and not to be pawns in the national politics of the likes of Norquist or the Koch brothers. If they fold on this issue, every voter needs to remember this at election time.


  2. The SAVE bill is but one legislative proposal aimed at meeting Jindal’s “net zero revenue” requirement. HB-549 is another.
    HB-549 introduced by Major Thibaut, R, New Roads, would insure oil and gas production, both new and existing, from horizontal production would be exempt from severance taxes from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017. If passed, this one bill alone will cost Louisiana hundreds of millions in lost revenue. Thibaut’s bill, HB-549, would amend the current Horizontal Production Exemption in two ways.
    First, the bill would extend the exemption to existing horizontal production that has already “lived out” the two year exemption allowed under the original exemption. Horizontal production that has already enjoyed a twenty-four month severance tax exemption would be granted a further severance tax exemption.
    Second, Thibaut’s bill would establish severance tax payments and exemptions, from horizontal production, as a function of six market price levels. For example, at market price levels below $70 a barrel and $4.50 Mcf for natural gas, both levels most energy analyst consider highly unlikely over the next year and a half, oil and gas production from horizontal wells would be 100% exempt from severance taxes.
    At the next price level,(there are six levels) horizontal production would enjoy an 80% severance tax exemption being required to pay only 20% of the assessed severance tax. Horizontal production would not pay 100% of the severance tax until the market price of oil reached or exceeded $110 a barrel. Below this price level, remember there are six levels or grades, the percentage of horizontal oil and gas production exempted from paying the severance tax increases and the amount of severance tax required decreases.
    $-70 $-4.50 100% 0%
    $70-80 $4.50-$5.50 80% 20%
    $80-90 $5.50-6.00 60% 40%
    $90-100 $6.00-6.50 40% 60%
    $100-110 $ 6.50-7.00 20% 80%
    $+110 $ 7.00 0% 100%
    This one bill, if enacted, will cost Louisiana hundreds of millions in lost revenue for at least a year and a half. Louisiana could effectively write off severance taxes as a source of revenue. However, this one example, God only knows how others exist, of the legislature pandering to Jindal’s and Norquist’s “net zero revenue” requirement.


Comments are now closed.