A Nerd Girl's Perspective

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Tag: Jindal

Could Bobby Jindal’s Tax Swap Plan Have Been a Distraction All Along?

Bobby Jindal’s tax plan to swap state income and corporate taxes for a higher and expanded sales tax is dead.

So dead that even he acknowledges it. Of course, moments after he acknowledges the death of his plan, he gets into bed with a different plan.

The new option for Jindal? Any one of the several bills in the Louisiana Legislature this session which would kill the state income tax without replacing the revenue at all. These bills are dangerous because the cuts cost by the revenue loss could be drastic and damaging.

They also don’t look nearly as worrisome as they should look because they are coming on the heels of the Jindal plan.

Which makes me stop and think.. Did he even want his “revenue neutral” (numerous sources doubted that his plan could really be neutral) tax swap to pass?

Or was he angling to make these bills with their huge revenue losses look better by comparison?

Opposition to the tax swap was coming from all sides. Catholic Bishops. Business Groups. Progressive Activists.

In fact, the tax swap plan seemed to be tailor made to have something for everyone to hate. The poor would likely pay more taxes under the plan. Businesses would have to start taxing additional services.  An unclear rebate system and the loss of the income tax credit reward could have lost the local entertainment industry success.

After that hate fest, any other plan will have trouble generating as much concern or attention.

So maybe if one of the income tax elimination bills passes Jindal will have gotten what he wanted all along. I have no way of knowing for sure (and maybe I am watching too much of the plotting heavy House of Cards) but stranger things have happened.

Jindal’s Tax Swap is Dead- Bad Tax Policy Lives On

On April 8th, before a joint session of the state legislature, Jindal acknowledged the death of his plan to eliminate state income and corporate taxes and replace them with higher state sales taxes which taxes a broad range of services not currently subject to sales tax. He said that he wasn’t taking his ball and going home, which to be honest, sounds exactly like what someone who was about to pout like mad would say.

However, the bad tax policy in Louisiana didn’t die alongside Jindal’s tax plan (and presidential ambitions). Rather the bad policy persists through a number of bills to eliminate the state income tax with absolutely no revenue replacement. At least Jindal’s horrible plan pretended to be revenue neutral. The various bills that Jindal spoke with favorability about during his speech haven’t even put forth the effort to look like they won’t drastically cut state revenue.

What happens if one of these bills passes? Our already incredibly under-funded state becomes even more so. As a state, we are already facing cuts to education and drastic closures of state hospitals. The sorts of cuts we could face with that sort of revenue loss would make our state sink to the bottom of a multitude of lists of states on quality of life, health care, education, public services, services for the elderly and poor, roads, etc.

A friend pointed out that a bill like this passing could easily mean the death of the TOPS program (which provides scholarships to public universities in Louisiana to encourage our high school students both to go to college and to stay in state to do it- and which has benefited the states higher education rates) due to lack of funding.

I shudder to think of what other vitally important programs could face their end because of this bad tax policy and drastic revenue loss.

Jindal’s Tax Plan- A way to kill retail stores and jobs

Jindal wants to get rid of income and corporate taxes in Louisiana and make up the difference with an increased sales tax- not a hefty property tax which is what Texas replaces their income taxes with. (and likely more cuts to things like battered women’s shelters and hospice care, both have faced drastic cuts under his administration already)

This is clearly a regressive-reverse robin hood plan. It would severely increase the portion of their income the poor and middle class pay in state taxes while severely decreasing the portion of their income the wealthy pay. Essentially it is taking from the poor and middle class to offer huge tax cuts to the wealthy.

But that isn’t all!

This plan a. won’t raise enough revenue to make up the difference and b. will drastically hurt all local retail businesses because of one simple thing… amazon. The poorest people in Louisiana (who will be most harmed by this plan) won’t be able to use the web giant as easily to get around the tax increase. They are less likely to have stable internet access and the $79 a year to buy prime and make amazon almost as convenient as a store would be a whole lot to them. The middle class on the other hand…

Tons of families in Louisiana are likely to turn to Amazon for their non perishable shopping needs, even nonperishable food is sold through the site now. I don’t think that people will be thinking of it as a plan to cheat the system, to evade taxation. Rather I suspect that families who exist pay check to pay check in our very poor state will simply see it as the way they can get by. The way they can make ends meet.

After all, the working poor and lower middle class in the state pay little to no state income tax. They will not be keeping more income to substitute for the extra cost at the register which will pay for the rich to be able to have the extra income to buy a boat or another car…

As a result of the likely great web migration of purchasing, retail stores will suffer. Some may close. People will lose jobs. Less tax revenue will come in and more cuts will happen to our already underfunded education and health care system. The pathetic state infrastructure will make many companies think twice before they locate in a state with terrible education and rapidly decaying roads. Essentially a very small class of wealthy will benefit while the state suffers.

The plan is regressive, bad for the poor, and quite frankly bad for the state all together.

And sadly it has fooled a ton of middle class people who just hear no income tax and stop listening before the part where they will pay hefty sales taxes to replace the revenue once got from the income tax on the well off.

Louisiana District 5 State Supreme Court Election- Hughes v Guidry

On Saturday December 8th, voters in an eight parish district will be choosing a new state supreme court justice. The new justice will be replacing Democrat Kitty Kimball. 

There was a very broad primary field and for the run-off it is down to Jeff Hughes and John Michael Guidry.

Republican Jeff Hughes has a lot more money in his official campaign funds, $289k versus Guidry’s $94k. He also has the endorsement of Jindal. Hughes also has massive financial support from the “Citizens for Clean Water and Land PAC.” The PAC just came into existence and Hughes is the only candidate it has supported suggesting it is likely it exists primarily for the purpose of supporting him. If Guidry wins, he will be overcoming the always difficult cash gap.

And I hope he wins. Not just to keep “pro-life, pro-gun, pro-traditional marriage” Hughes from inflicting anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-reasonable gun regulation politics on to the court, but also because of a specific case.

In matters pertaining to the state constitution, the state supreme court is the final word.  Recently a judge ruled Jindal’s education “reforms” to be in violation of the state constitution. 

This is a huge victory for people who don’t want to see public education gutted to funnel money into voucher schools that teach dinosaurs and humans lived together, slave masters were really nice, the kkk did good stuff, the great depression was no big deal, and abstract math is an affront to God. It is also a huge blow to Jindal’s obvious fantasy of running for president in 2016.

It is not over though and I suspect the case will make its way up to the Louisiana Supreme Court. Jindal endorsed Hughes. I don’t want him hearing this case which makes Guidry’s election so very important.

Update: Read more here