Whenever Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks, be it on Fox News, CNN, to fellow Republican governors or at a rare press conference such as the one held on Thursday, his threefold purpose always seems to be to inflate weak ideology, obscure poor reasoning and inhibit clarity.
His less-than-masterful tax plan for the state, which he admitted to reporters is like so many of his ill-conceived programs in that it actually remains a non-plan, might well be entitled “The Dynamics of Irrational and Mythical Imperatives of Tax Reform: A Study in Psychic Trans-Relational Fiscal Recovery Modes” (with apologies to Calvin and Hobbes, our all-time favorite comic strip).
It’s not certain what drives him to wade off into these issues (see: hospital and prison closures, higher education cutbacks, charter schools, online courses and vouchers, state employee retirement “reform,” and privatization of efficiently-operating state agencies like the Office of Group Benefits) but his actions are probably precipitated by deeply ingrained biological, psychological and sociological imperatives that have triggered a reduced functionality in the cerebral cortex (Pickles).
Or it could be some depraved attempt to inflict vengeance on society because his two imaginary childhood friends teased him and wouldn’t let him play with them.
And though he insists he has the job he wants, we can’t help but wonder if he isn’t even now casting a covetous sidelong look at the advantages of plundering (Frazz) in case his presidential aspirations fail to materialize.
The reason for all this speculation is brought on by his admission in that ever-so-brief (less than 12 minutes or six question, whichever came first) press conference Thursday that the administration does not have a proposal as yet to eliminate personal and corporate income taxes despite his well-publicized announcement that he wants to scrap state income taxes for individuals and corporations (especially corporations) in a “revenue neutral” way that would most likely involve increased sales taxes.
But he doesn’t have a proposal yet.
Are you listening, legislators? He doesn’t have a proposal yet. That means the onus is going to be on you and if he doesn’t have his way with you (as he has for the past five years—and you can take that any way you please), he’s going public with the blame game.
If everything goes south, you don’t really think he’s going to take the blame, do you?
He doesn’t have a proposal yet. Now we see where State Superintendent John White gets his prompts on running the Department of Education. White has not submitted a completed plan for any project begun at DOE since he took over; everything—vouchers, charters, course choice—is in a constant state of flux. He announces rules, retracts, readjusts, re-evaluates only to lose a lawsuit over the way his boss proposed to fund state vouchers.
Jindal doesn’t have a proposal—for anything. His retirement “reform” package for state employees was a disaster from the get go. Even before he lost yet another court decision on that issue in January, the matter of whether or not the proposed plan for new hires was an IRS-qualified plan—meaning a plan the IRS would accept in lieu of social security—remained unresolved.
He didn’t have a proposal: let’s just do it and see later if the IRS will accept it. Throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.
Remember when he vetoed a bill two years ago to renew a five-cent tax on cigarettes because, he said, he was opposed to new taxes (it was a renewal!)? Well, now he’s considering a $1 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes.
“Everything is on the table,” he said. “That’s the way it should be.”
But isn’t he the same governor who closed hospitals and prisons without so much as a heads-up to legislators in the areas affected.
Isn’t he the same governor who rejected a federal grant to make boardband internet available to rural areas of the state but had no alternative plan for broadband?
Isn’t he the same governor who continues to resist ObamaCare at the cost of millions of dollars in Medicaid funding to provide medical care for the state’s poor?
He said he is looking at different ways to protect low- and middle-income citizens.
By increasing the state sales tax by nearly two cents on the dollar? By rejecting another $50 million federal grant for early childhood development? By shuttering battered women’s shelters and attempting to terminate state funding for hospice? By pushing for more and more tax breaks for corporations and wealthy Louisiana citizens? By appointing former legislators to six-figure state jobs for which they’re wholly unqualified while denying raises to the state’s working stiffs? Yeah, that’ll really protect the low income people of the state.
“It’s way too early to make decisions on what’s in and out of the plan,” he said of the soon-to-be proposed (we assume) income tax re-haul.
Well, Governor, it’s your job to make decisions, to come up with a proposal to present to the legislature so House and Senate members may have sufficient time to debate the issues—unlike your sweeping education package of a year ago.
In your response to President Obama’s State of the Union address this week (not your disastrous response in 2009 in which the Republican Party subjected you to national ridicule), you said, “With four more years in office, he (Obama) needs to step up to the plate and do the job he was elected to do.”
That’s right, folks. You can’t make up stuff this good. The response is so easy that it’s embarrassing but here goes:
Pot, meet Kettle.
In retrospect, drawing on comic strip for inspiration when writing about Jindal somehow seems entirely appropriate.