JINDAL: Our Economy Is Better Than Ever

Seven years ago, I ran for governor promising to make the economy bigger and the government smaller. We have lived up to that, accomplishing in Louisiana what the federal government has failed to do. We have balanced budgets, drastically reduced the size of government and empowered growth in our private sector.

Our state budget is nearly $9 billion smaller, with over 30,000 fewer state workers, than when we took office in 2008. And guess what? After reining in the size of government and lowering taxes, Louisiana’s economy is stronger than ever.

Since 2008, Louisiana’s economy has grown nearly twice as fast as the national economy, and private-sector employment has grown at a rate of two-and-a-half times the U.S. rate, while our budgeting practices have earned our state eight credit rating upgrades. We now have more people working and living in Louisiana, with higher incomes, than ever before.

For next year’s budget, a dramatic drop in oil prices has meant less money for state government. That’s OK. It should come as no surprise to anyone that we plan to address this challenge by continuing to cut the size of government without raising taxes.

I refuse to place the burden of lower-than-expected state revenue on the backs of individuals and businesses in the form of higher taxes. State government will have to get smaller and more efficient, just as we have forced it to do in the past.

We understand the importance of setting priorities. In our proposed budget, we have outlined ways to minimize budget reductions to vital services such as higher education and health care. We proposed smart reforms to our tax code to cut more than $500 million in corporate welfare, and to redirect those dollars to higher education and health care.

Just like every year, there are some who will criticize us for cutting government again and refusing to raise taxes. But I do not measure Louisiana’s success by the prosperity of our government, I measure it by the prosperity of our people.

It’s true that fiscal responsibility isn’t easy. But it works. In Louisiana, I am proud to say the economy is bigger, the government is smaller and our state is stronger than ever.

Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is governor of Louisiana. This piece originally appeared at USA Today.



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