Sunday, January 11, 2009

Looking back, looking ahead

As Times-Picayune reporter Jan Moller puts it in this article, Gov. Bobby Jindal was at the center of a whirlwind in the first year of his term:

Since taking office a year ago this week, Bobby Jindal presided over three legislative sessions, weathered two major hurricanes, was courted to run for vice president on the Republican ticket and endured the public furor that ensued when the Legislature voted to more than double its take-home pay.
The part about the legislature and the pay raise wasn't the lowest point in Jindal's first year (although that is probably the bit that will make his relationship with lawmakers the most difficult in the coming session).

The worst was his support for the orgy of tax breaks that left our state vulnerable to the economic collapse now looming. After voters decided in 2000 to make our tax code a bit more progressive and less dependent on the petroleum industry, Jindal willingly gave in to the demagogues and helped undo the reforms of the Stelly plan.

Interviewing LFT President Steve Monaghan for the story, Moller came away with this nugget:

Monaghan faulted Jindal and the Legislature for repealing the 2002 "Stelly" income-tax increase, which will cost the state an estimated $360 million next year. Combined with other tax cuts ushered through by Jindal, the move will exacerbate the budget shortfall and will make it harder to finance public education, Monaghan said.

"All of these tax credits went hastily through the process when
Louisiana looked at itself as being flush," Monaghan said. "Now we're looking at the state in the position that perhaps it wouldn't have had to be in if it hadn't been so cavalier with its resources."

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