We shouldn’t be surprised by this, after all it is Salon. But Salon writer Gary Legem put together a fairy tale about how Bobby Jindal almost single handedly destroyed Louisiana through supply side economics and loyalty to Grover Norquist or something.
Legem starts with this bit of fantasy about Jindal’s tax cutting.
Additionally, Jindal started throwing tax credits and cuts around almost from the minute he was sworn in. He pushed through the largest income tax cut in state history — $1.1 billion over five years — which he saw as a prelude to completely eliminating the state’s business and personal income taxes. Which, when the state was flush, must have not seemed insane, at least to Republicans who never think a tax cut under any circumstances is insane.
As we have explained many times on this website, Bobby Jindal did not push for the repeal of the Stelly Act. The Legislature pushed for it and forced Jindal to sign it. The reason why Stelly was depised was because it was sold as revenue neutral but in reality it raised taxes.
Now here’s where Jindal failed, he didn’t cut government spending enough to offset the loss in revenue. The Louisiana budget remains $500 million more than the ones enacted after Katrina and Rita. While Jindal did try to reduce spending, the Legislature bucked him. Jindal was also defeated in his attempt to close the awful SUNO, which barely graduates 10% of its students.
Jindal also failed to push for the structural changes the state needs in order to get the budget in order.
Legem had this:
In addition, Jindal had signed the ever-insane “Never ever, ever, EVER raise taxes under any circumstances” pledge, peddled by Grover Norquist and his organization, Americans for Tax Reform, that long ago became de rigueur for Republicans. Future generations will marvel at how completely Norquist’s snake oil captured our politicians, assuming they’re not too busy scrounging for food and shelter in the giant waste dumps that were America’s states before the likes of Bobby Jindal and Sam Brownback got hold of the governor’s mansions.
There is no pledge to Grover Norquist. Grover doesn’t have that kind of power, as much as he pretends otherwise. The “pledge” was to the people Jindal represented. Jindal pledged to the people of Louisiana that he would never raise taxes. Ultimately, we believe Jindal broke that pledge when he signed the tax increases enacted last summer.
Now the article does go on to point out some of the shell games enacted by Jindal to pretend he had a balanced budget. That includes the use of one-time money to pay for recurring expenses. Those criticisms of Jindal are legitimate.
Legem concludes with this:
Fear-mongering over football aside, there is a real danger of cuts to Louisiana’s schools and institutions of higher education. Nicholls State University is consideringshutting down temporarily. The state’s TOPS program, a college scholarship fund for Louisiana high-school students who attend one of the state’s public universities, could see severe cuts. For a state with public schools that already rank 48th in overall education quality, this is a huge blow.
Certainly Louisiana’s experience is not the first time that the promises of supply-side economics have been proven to be a fraud and a knife in the guts of effective governance. And yet, though Jindal is gone, every Republican candidate is proposing some version of a giant tax-cutting scheme that will blow holes in the national deficit, making more deep cuts to social-welfare programs inevitable down the road. And yet Louisiana, along with Kansas, will almost certainly vote for the Republican candidate in November. It’s enough to make you wonder what other evidence conservatives need to see that their economic policies don’t work.
Louisiana needs spending cuts. It is absurd that the “lean” state budget passed this year is $500 million more than the budgets swollen by Katrina and Rita recovery money. Louisiana needs to close some four year universities because we have way too many universities who are nowhere near their enrollment capacity and don’t graduate enough students. TOPS needs to be reformed and hopefully the budget crisis will force some reforms in the program.
But the mentality of “no cuts” is absurd. The money to pay for government programs has to come from somewhere and high taxes harm businesses and families.