As pointed out by Dan Fagan in his Advocate column over the weekend, the governor reneged on his promises that he would not raise taxes, but there was more to his promise than Fagan discussed.
The key part of the governor’s promises were that he wouldn’t need to raise taxes because he would reform government so that new taxes wouldn’t be required. The reform part of his promise was the most important part and based upon the governor’s personal history, these were promises that we had every right to have had faith in.
By now most people know that despite the governor’s straw-man attacks on Bobby Jindal he actually voted for almost all of Jindal’s budgets. But what most people don’t know is that Governor Jindal couldn’t pass his budgets without some votes controlled by Democrats (some of which were faux Republicans). As the leader of the Democrats in the Legislature, John Bel Edwards controlled those votes and actually negotiated the terms of those budgets that Democrats finally supported.
Complicating matters worse for the governor is his now discredited claim of a sudden revelation of a billion dollar shortfall that he learned about only after he came to office. As Fagan points out,this too was just another element of an well planned, alarmist strategy. The governor skillfully employed this strategy to support his liberal, populist philosophy.
The truth is Governor Edwards had intimate knowledge of the fiscal structure of Louisiana, he just wanted to grow government. As we all now know, by using misinformation and fear tactics he succeeded to some extent. Thank goodness to a great extent we in the legislature called his bluff or we would be talking about a $1.5 billion surplus.
Without a doubt when Governor Edwards promised that he would not raise taxes because he could reform government he knew exactly what he was promising. As pointed in out in Fagan’s editorial both parts of the governor’s “promise” lasted about as long as it took for the ink to dry on his Oath of Office as Governor.
During the course of his campaign we were assured by his out-of-state military pals that we could trust John Bel Edwards because he took another oath, one that was based on an Honor Code that specifically includes that a cadet doesn’t lie. That was a great political ad, but when those ex-military officers told us to trust him they clearly didn’t understand that an honor pledge at West Point doesn’t apply in Louisiana.