Last week, we learned that a group of Republican state representatives who call themselves “Fiscal Hawks” were planning to team up with the House Democratic Caucus to cut a deal and design a budget plan filled with $1.3 billion in tax increases. We made the decision to do all we could to stop the members of our delegation from making this huge mistake. With an incredible amount of help from the Tea Party of Louisiana, tea party members throughout the state, LABI, the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, business groups across Louisiana and grassroots conservatives like you, we convinced Republican House members to withdraw the proposal.
Today, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed HB 571, HB 653 and HB 696, three bills that contain tax increases, primarily in the form of the suspension or reduction of tax credits and deductions. The legislation was promoted by the “Fiscal Hawks” and the leaders of Democrat caucus, including Representatives John Bel Edwards and Katrina Jackson. The Republican Party of Louisiana opposed these bills in accordance with our long standing policy to oppose any bill or package of bills which result in a net increase in taxes.
In the middle of today’s debate on the budget, “Fiscal Hawk” leaders surprised members of the Republican delegation with new amendments that were not previously a part of the package. One of these amendments suspended an important part of last year’s education reform package. The other suspended an important economic development incentive, thereby endangering several pending projects including the trumpeted economic development wins of Sassol and Lockheed Martin. Conservatives attempted to fight these amendments, but the amendments ultimately succeeded as the Legislative Black Caucus would not support the Hawk-Democrat plan without them.
While this news is certainly disappointing, the package that passed today is much smaller and far less damaging to our state than the previous Hawk-Democrat plan. We still oppose the three bills passed today as long as they are not offset by tax cuts elsewhere. We do not favor a net increase in government revenues. We are especially concerned about the effect of additional business taxes at a time when Louisiana’s economy is growing. We will work with conservatives in the Louisiana Senate to eliminate the tax increases the House passed today. And of course, our great conservative Governor, Bobby Jindal, always has the option of vetoing legislation.
While most House Republicans supported the tax increases referenced above, a number did not. And 16 of our GOP representatives stood out from the crowd and led the fight against increasing the size of government. Some of these champions endured ridicule and pressure for opposing all new revenue. Below is a list of the 16 Republican conservatives who led the fight in the House of Representatives against higher taxes and bigger government. Please send them a quick email thanking them for standing up for us.
It should not be a surprise nor a secret to anyone that the Republican Party of Louisiana is opposed to raising taxes on families and businesses. Opposition to raising taxes is a fundamental plank in our Party platform. We always have–and will continue to–oppose any bill or package of bills that result in a net increase in taxes.
Yet some have questioned our motive and wisdom of opposing a plan supported by many Republican legislators. We don’t often get into the foray of legislative battles at this level. When we do, we do so because we believe our involvement can make a difference in furthering our fundamental principles. Thus, in recent years, we’ve fought hard to defeat attempts to undermine the Electoral college, expand Obamacare and raise taxes. We’ve also been on the offensive by pushing for education reform, school choice, strengthening our 2nd amendment rights, protecting life and repealing the state income tax.
We’ve fought for principles, not politicians. We will continue to do so, even when some of our close friends may be on the other side of the issue.
Our involvement in the budget battle was not about picking one side or the other. It was quite simple. We will oppose tax increases in whatever form they may rear their ugly head.
As the state party, we believe that being a Republican is more than a label and should not be relegated to a mere social club. Voters should be confident that when they elect a Republican to office, that person will stand for the fundamental principles of the party platform. It is our responsibility to remind our elected officials of this.
We cannot stand idly by when Republican officials are looking to veer from the principles that define us as a party. The Republican Party and our candidates have the most success when we stay true to these conservative principles. And we will never have Republican unity while some Republicans are increasing taxes, regardless of how fancy they dress it up.
The 16 Republican House members who stood against the tax increase package are…