According to the Advocate, Jindal’s dream to hike regressive sales taxes to pay for a tax cut for wealthy Louisianians wasn’t even born in Baton Rouge. No, in fact, Jindal’s clueless economic team has been scrambling to fill in the blanks of the plan with details plucked from the Washington, DC conservative think tank, the Tax Foundation. From the Advocate:
Stephen Moret, Jindal’s secretary of the state Department of Economic Development, said he probably has called the Tax Foundation more than anyone else in America…
The Tax Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based group, whose board includes executives with the some of the nation’s largest corporations and officials with political action groups that support national Republican candidates. It has advocated restrained government spending and lower taxes since its founding in 1937.
Even Chuckles Kleckley, Jindal’s House Speaker puppet was getting frustrated with the lack of details when Jindal first announced the policy almost 6 weeks ago.
Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, sent a letter to the Republican governor’s chief of staff, Paul Rainwater, requesting Jindal’s tax plan be delivered to the House by March 15. “I feel strongly that the House of Representatives should begin hearings on such an important issue,” wrote Kleckley, usually a Jindal ally. “The public needs sufficient time to review the actual proposed legislation in order for members to receive feedback from their constituency,” he said in the letter released by the speaker’s office.
According to the Advocate, the Jindal posse presented Leges with an abbreviated document during early meetings that focused on increasing the state’s “ranking” with business climate watchers:
Jindal handed out what was described as a “talking points memo” to legislators who attended discussions at the Governor’s Mansion about a proposal to radically change how the state collects taxes to pay for services. At the very top of the memo, which he collected at the end of the meeting, a heading entitled “A Framework for Comprehensive Tax Reform” predicted that if the restructuring proposals were approved, “it is projected to increase our Tax Foundation rankings, which many businesses use to make site decisions, from number 32 to number 4.”
Jindal’s massive tax burden shift, from the wealthy to the middle-class and poor, is based on increasing a ranking. Sounds about right. What’s wrong with that?
The efforts of Jindal’s aides to increase Louisiana’s rankings in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index caught the attention of economist Robert Tannenwald in his Feb. 25 analysis published in State Tax Notes, a professional magazine.
“They asked the Foundation to suggest reforms that would lift the state’s ranking. The Foundation obliged with several proposals, notably to eliminate the state’s personal, corporate and franchise taxes and to increase its sales tax. Jindal decided to run with it,” wrote Tannenwald, a former Federal Reserve Bank economist who now teaches public policy and budgeting at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass.
Tannenwald found “especially disconcerting” the high weight the Tax Foundation put on the elimination of personal income taxes, which he argued not only skewed the findings, but did not best represent what businesses looked at when looking at the bottom line.
A Washington, DC think tank filling in the blanks for a half-baked idea that Jindal decided to “run with” in order to bolster his standing with 2016 Republican primary voters in Iowa. What was it Jindal said about listening to Washington?
It seems like the only person that should be listening to Jindal’s voluminous advice from the “stupid party” is…Jindal.