Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Demagogues" coming out of the woodwork

Seems like most everybody hates Bobby Jindal's "tax swap" plan.

These ministers hate it

Religious leaders from across Louisiana complained Friday that the math behind Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax proposal is flawed.

Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith, a Shreveport-based religious organization, said the Jindal administration underestimated the expected tax burden on families by omitting part of a proposed state sales tax hike from calculations.

“This is about more than just numbers on a page. This is about integrity and people’s lives,” the Rev. Melvin Rushing, of Baton Rouge, said during a news conference at the State Capitol.
The Times-Picayune Editorial Board hates it

In the two months since Gov. Bobby Jindal revealed his plan to do away with income and corporate taxes and replace them with higher sales taxes, we have asked him to explain why such a drastic change is warranted and how it would benefit Louisianians.

Even now, the details of large parts of his plan are fuzzy. But one thing has become clear: His tax swap makes no sense.

Whether you ask advocates for poor residents, real estate developers or tourism executives, they say essentially the same thing. The governor's tax changes would be a burden to families and harmful to the economy, particularly in New Orleans where tourism dollars are vital.
LBP hates it.
“Eliminating Louisiana’s income tax and raising the sales tax would jeopardize our state’s economy while raising taxes on the middle-class and low-income families. The plan just shifts who pays taxes, and a tax shift is not tax reform.

“The governor’s proposal won’t help small businesses create new jobs in Louisiana, but it will make it harder for Louisiana to invest in things that boost the economy and attract businesses, such as good schools and universities that provide a skilled workforce.

“And, it will only make worse the state’s chronic revenue problems, which have resulted in five straight years of mid-year budget cuts.”

PAR doesn't explicitly say they hate it, although, if you read between the lines..
The plan contains several strikingly useful reforms, and the Governor and his staff are to be congratulated for their political will and creativity in attempting to reform some of the state’s tax policies and practices. As lawmakers and the public evaluate the overall proposal, they should be provided accurate assumptions and clear identification of the parties who would be affected in the tax swap, as best as one can estimate.
The PAR report goes on to question several of the Governor's assumptions regarding the plan's "revenue neutrality" as well as its effect on various parties. But it does this in the nicest possible wording.

The Lens' Tyler Bridges is not so impressed either.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says everyone wins under his plan to eliminate personal income and corporate taxes in Louisiana and jack up the state’s annual take from sales taxes.

He also insists the tax revamp will be “revenue-neutral,” meaning the state’s annual tax haul will neither rise nor fall.

“We have proposed a reform that will help families in every income level, that will cut taxes for families at every level, including retirees and the low-income,” Jindal said at the South Central Industrial Association in Houma on Tuesday, the start of a statewide round of barnstorming to sell the plan.

But like the IQ scores in Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon — where “all the children are above average” — Jindal’s claims are mathematically impossible. 

Clancy Dubos hates it too. Specifically, Clancy doesn't like Jindal's political playbook for rolling out the legislation. As he points out, we've all seen this before.
Think back to last year, when Jindal spouted platitudes about “education reform” but waited, literally, until the last possible minute to present his bills — then rammed them through the committee process within days, giving no one a fair chance to study them. The result was, among other things, an unconstitutional voucher plan with virtually no accountability.

He’s using the same strategy with his tax-swap plan. He offers vague promises of “fairness” and “broadening the base,” but he and his tax-swap point man, Tim Barfield, executive counsel for the state Department of Revenue, offer few specifics — and then only in response to legislative and public pressure for more details.
Oh but wait a minute. Here's somebody who doesn't hate the plan. It's Jeff Sadow who published a column at The Hayride last week imploring the Governor not to "let the demagogues kill tax reform." 
It would be a major blunder by the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration to let its tax swap plan falter because it allowed empty demagoguery to triumph over intellectually superior, economically beneficial, and individually empowering ideas.
For more on the "empty demagoguery" please review all of the links listed above. The "demagogues" have been busy.

Interestingly, only one article treating the robust debate over tax reform was  selected for publication on the State Department of Revenue's website.  Guess which one.


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