BURNS: The Public Wants Solutions, Not Rhetoric

The Public wants Solutions, not Rhetoric

The public wants solutions to everyday problems, not political rhetoric. A recent communication from the Republican Party of Louisiana, appears to emphasize rhetoric over solutions, in its coverage of the Louisiana budget process. The communication chastised Republicans, including myself, for voting for measures which increased government revenues, despite the fact that these measures actually closed tax loopholes that were being used by predominantly large and out of state taxpayers at the expense of Louisiana residents relying on higher education and health care services.

I am not a big fan of raising revenue, but would rather close these loopholes than further cut higher education, which has been cut by more than 80% over the last five years. This has resulted in large tuition increases for working families and young people trying to advance themselves. So in balancing cutting loopholes on corporate out-of-state taxpayers vs, further challenging the young people and working families of this state trying to obtain an education, I come down in favor of our people.

In addition, such a position of opposing new revenue, even by closing loopholes, favors rhetoric over solutions and ignores the fact that these loophole closings raised a comparatively modest amount, around 10% of the $800 million in other proposed budget cuts (besides higher ed) as well as facilitated a comprehensive deficit reduction reform package. Ronald Reagan was not afraid to close the corporate loopholes created in his 1980 tax act just two years later and no one claimed him to be a tax-and-spend liberal.

Isn’t it this kind of rhetoric that may be paralyzing responsible deficit reduction negotiations on a national level? Wouldn’t Congress’ dysfunctional approach to deficit reduction be a good example of what not to do? Apparently not.

More disturbing is that the communication seeks to divide the Republican Party by singling out the “good” Republicans who opposed these measures as opposed to the “bad” Republicans who didn’t. I think that such a discussion is divisive among Republicans and is misguided. I certainly respect the right of my colleagues to vote their beliefs and their district and that the Republican Party of Louisiana should not try to divide Republicans when they are trying to work hard and represent their constituents to the best of their abilities.

This is rhetoric and not solutions.

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