…besides us here at The Hayride, that is. We’ve been fairly vocal in shooting down Edwards’ lie about Louisiana’s standing where tax friendliness is concerned, but now he’s been called out by the very source itself.
That being the Tax Foundation.
Here’s the lie: Edwards has said time and again that Louisiana has the fifth lowest state and local tax burden in America. He said it once again at Thursday’s debate, and we almost had a stroke here at The Hayride when he did. It’s one of the most bald-faced lies anybody in politics ever told.
Because Louisiana HAD the fifth lowest state and local tax burden in America.
Do you know when that was?
It was when Bobby Jindal was governor, and the Tax Foundation did a study measuring tax burdens in 2012. At that point Louisiana was the fifth lowest in the country. Louisiana was also getting rave reviews from outlets like Site Selection Magazine, it was being written up for how business-friendly the state was and there was an industrial construction boom afoot with more than $150 BILLION in investments into oil refineries, chemical plants, gas-to-liquids facilities, LNG terminals and so forth.
Now – none of that really translated into an economic renaissance like the one Texas has had next door. While all this was going on Louisiana was still hamstrung by the Obama economy, naturally, and in 2015 when the price of oil slumped almost down to $30 per barrel all that investment couldn’t keep the state from falling into a recession. Jindal left office with a poor economy, something John Bel Edwards has never stopped trashing him for.
But Edwards immediately demanded, and received, a massive tax increase from the Legislature when he took office. And Louisiana was no longer festooned with the fifth lowest state and local tax burden. At all.
But that didn’t stop him from continuing to claim that status, which he has done repeatedly. We’ve done everything we could to point out the lie, but nobody else has really picked up on it.
But when he made that claim again, in a televised debate Thursday, the Tax Foundation finally noticed it and was not amused.
Governor, while Louisiana's tax burden is moderate, the reason the state's ranking has remained constant is because we discontinued the study you cite several years ago, and the most recent figures are for FY 2012.
— Jared Walczak (@JaredWalczak) September 27, 2019
Got that? Edwards’ people knew his claims were based on old information, and it didn’t matter. He’s just been perpetuating that lie all along.
And taking credit for something Bobby Jindal did that he has actively undone.
Here’s what we said about this a year and change ago when Edwards told that lie in his “Our Louisiana” speech given at ULL amid the never-ending string of special sessions he called attempting to wring more tax money out of the Legislature…
Democrats love to throw around this claim that Louisiana has the fifth-lowest tax burden in the country, and it comes from a Tax Foundation study…which was done in 2012. When Bobby Jindal was governor.
WalletHub did their own study for 2018, and Louisiana’s tax burden didn’t come in at No. 45. Instead, it came in at No. 27. Mississippi, Arkansas and Kentucky were higher among Southern states, while North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee all came in lower – many of them much lower. The Tax Foundation study came up with a number for Louisiana at 7.6 percent in 2012, while WalletHub says the 2018 number for the state is 8.43 percent. If it was still 7.6 percent Louisiana would rank 43rd.
Think of this as John Bel Edwards talking about how nice the neighborhood is while his kids are burgling the neighbors’ houses and he’s got a car on blocks and two rusty washing machines in his front yard.
As for the Tax Foundation, its most recent pronouncement about how Louisiana ranks tax-wise, from right around a year ago, was that we had the 7th worst business tax climate in America.
So much for that lie.
What would be really nice, though we know it will never happen, would be for The Advocate, which is essentially what’s left of the newspaper business in Louisiana to the state’s everlasting shame, to join in calling Edwards out for this lie. Instead, that paper is busily promoting another lie – which is that somehow Ralph Abraham is a pill-pusher busily hooking North Louisiana on opioids when federal data indicates he’s not out of line with other doctors in prescribing them nor were pharmacies Abraham owned remotely out of line with others in that part of the state.
If there was an honest legacy media in Louisiana, Edwards wouldn’t have dared to relentlessly push this lie about Louisiana’s tax climate. An honest legacy media would have torn him to bits for taking credit for Jindal’s tax rankings while trashing Jindal’s economic record.
But honesty is at a premium in Louisiana politics. That’s always been true, but it sure has gotten worse over the past four years.