“We shouldn’t have a Washington group dictating how we solve our $1.6 billion budget problem,” said GOP state Rep. Tim Burns.
Grover Norquist Is The Real Boss Of Louisiana
Credit: Gage Skidmore
March 17, 2015

I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me... -- Oath of office, Louisiana

I think you all know how I feel about Grover Norquist, and his extortion racket. It would be nice if some brave Republican (if such a thing exists) stood up to the little tyrant:

Some Louisiana Republicans have a question for Gov. Bobby Jindal: Who runs the state’s tax policy — the governor or Grover Norquist?

Is that a serious question? We all know that elected Republian officials are much more faithful to Grover's pledge than they are to their oaths of office!

Jindal, who is exploring a 2016 presidential run, is fighting with his own party over how to fill a $1.6 billion budget hole. But like many GOP-ers, he is eager to preserve his anti-tax bona fides.

Enter Norquist, the activist who specializes in deciding which revenue hikes should count as tax increases, and which might be labeled with such euphemisms as hiking fees, closing loopholes — or in this case, “cutting spending.”

"Activist"? I think he means extortionist, since the massive amounts of money poured into Republican primaries to challenge anyone who ignores his will is Grover's weapon of choice.

The administration recently sought out Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform — which has persuaded nearly every elected Republican, including Jindal, to sign a pledge to shun tax hikes — to ensure a new revenue-raising plan isn’t considered a tax hike, according to several Louisiana Republicans. Jindal’s plan guts half-billion dollars in refundable tax credits for businesses and increases levies on cigarettes.

At the same time, a Norquist emissary allegedly gave a thumbs down to a competing bipartisan proposal to help fill the gap by nixing Hollywood tax credits, saying that could constitute a tax increase.

“We shouldn’t have a Washington group dictating how we solve our $1.6 billion budget problem,” said GOP state Rep. Tim Burns, who was at the meeting. “It’s very disconcerting — that he’s going to threaten to veto anything we do that (Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform) ATR doesn’t like.”

The intraparty squabble highlights Jindal’s eyes on 2016 — and the power of Norquist.

It’s also a reminder that what some think is good state policy can clash with smart politics — particularly in a GOP presidential primary, where Jindal’s would-be opponents might bulldog him for raising levies.

Is refusing to raise taxes really "smart politics"? Voters are awfully tired of the results after these decades of tax cuts.

Jindal spoke in Washington on Monday at the center-right American Action Forum, where he dodged a question on ATR’s role in his budget but said: “I am against tax increases, period. … Now … there are refundable tax credits that exceed a taxpayer’s tax liability … folks getting large checks from the state of Louisiana. In my mind that’s spending. … Some of that’s corporate welfare.”

The Jindal administration told POLITICO earlier that the governor reached out to the group only because he “takes his pledge to the people of Louisiana not to raise taxes seriously.”

“We consult with Americans for Tax Reform on different ideas just as we consult with many other groups interested in tax policy,” according to a statement.

Buncha cowards, if you ask me. Show a little leadership, and voters will follow. All this blackmail and extortion in the service of Big Business is no way to run a government.

Give us a few more Republicans like Rep. Tim Burns, who understands what's really going on.

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