The Jindal Tax Plan Crashes

Lo, have the mighty fallen! Bobby Jindal, bedeviled by rapidly falling approval ratings on every front, officially threw in the towel on his burden-shifting tax plan in the speech opening the 2013 Louisiana legislative session. Here’s a nice one-graph analysis from the New Orleans Times-Picayune‘s Jeff Adelson:

The speech is a major concession that Jindal’s proposal, a complicated plan contained in a total of 11 bills, is unpopular both within and outside the Legislature. The proposal has come under increasingly heavy fire in recent weeks as business groups and advocates for the poor have assailed its effects and think tanks have questioned whether the math in the proposal adds up.

Other than that, it was all clear sailing.

Even in his surrender, Jindal was as devious as ever:

[H]ere is what I’ve heard from you and from the people of Louisiana — yes, we do want to get rid of the income tax, but governor you’re moving too fast and we aren’t sure that your plan is the best way to do it.

“So I’ve thought about that. And it certainly wasn’t the reaction I was hoping to hear. And now I’m going to give you my response and it’s not the response people are accustomed to hearing from politicians.

“Here is my response: ‘Ok, I hear you,’ ” according to the text of the speech. “So I am going to park my tax plan.”

Jindal’s surrender, however, is only partial. In the speech, the governor continues to call for a bill to eliminate the income tax, though he said he will leave the specifics up to the Legislature.

Well, yeah, people will say they are for eliminating taxes if there no other taxes are created or raised, or spending cut, to offset the lost revenues. I’m sure that if he listened, Bobby could hear Louisianans say they’d love to get rid of the sales taxes he wanted to boost.

But it’s reasonably clear his gambit to tell low-to-moderate income people they needed to suck it up and bear more of the cost of government so as to lure in more job-creators didn’t wash. If there’s some Plan B he’d support that doesn’t basically involve that formula, he needs to say so.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.