Two Bad Governors of Louisiana

It’s not like me to miss a story about Bobby Jindal, though I must say this one’s getting old. Today’s the last day of the Louisiana legislative session. There’s still no state budget, because Bobby Jindal is fighting with his fellow Republicans in order to keep the “no tax increase” pledge he made to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.

But with a huge budget shortfall and huge pending cuts in education funding–especially for the state’s colleges and universities–Pelican State GOPers are relying on all sorts of phony-baloney gimmicks to avoid the appearance of a tax increases. One is to “sunset” reductions in tax credits a few years down the road, which raises revenues without creating a change in permanent tax rates. And another, which many Republican legislators are balking at, involves creating a new tax credit for student fees at colleges which can offset tax increases for Grover’s purposes, even though it’s entirely unreal because the fees against which the credit would apply don’t actually exist.

So with the clock running down, legislators have resorted to direct communications with Norquist–who’s been called by one columnist “Louisiana’s unelected governor”–to run various revenue scenarios by him for approval.

Unbelievable. Louisiana has one governor who views his job as a distraction from a presidential campaign, and now has another one off in Washington whose most famous quote was that he wanted government to become small enough to drown in a bathtub. It’s looking now like Jindal could be facing a humiliating veto override from a Republican legislature right about the time he gets the news he’s going to be excluded from the first presidential debate. But it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

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.