Shelving tax plan a dubious move

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

News recently broke that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has decided to shelve his controversial tax plan that would have eliminated personal and corporate income taxes in Louisiana while increasing the state’s sales tax.
While Jindal and supporters of the plan have argued eliminating income taxes would help attract new businesses to the state, detractors have argued that the new set up would disproportionately affect the state’s poorer residents and negatively impact the state’s tourism industry. The governor spent the last couple of weeks canvasing the state to try to garner more support for the plan, but to little avail.
Jindal said he chose to withdraw the plan for now because he heard many complain that the timeline just moved too fast. This is a genuine concern for a governor whose hastily passed education reform package is currently mired in a mound of legal issues.
It is difficult, however, not to read into the politics of such an announcement.
Jindal’s national political aspirations are no secret to anyone in the state given the amount of time he spends traveling the nation. It is something the voters must have suspected of the rapidly rising star when he was first elected as governor in 2007.
The plan itself would appeal to the staunch base of the Republican Party and its dislike of taxes in general. But after finishing behind former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at the bottom of a poll about possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates and seeing his approval rating dip below the 40 percent mark in Louisiana, Jindal may have decided to cut his losses.
Which vividly displays everything that is wrong with politics today.
If Jindal truly believes that this plan is the right direction for the state, he should stand behind it all the way, even in the face of scarce support. And he still may do that after reworking the plan a little.
But if his true intentions were nothing more than to increase his notoriety within the Republican Party, he might as well leave the plan — and his hopes of political support from Louisiana — on the shelf.