Gov. Bobby Jindal continued to express confidence Friday that a way would be found to fill a $1.6 billion budget hole and fund college and health care without raising taxes.
Jindal’s optimism came the day after the House approved $664 million in various tax measures, some of which don’t meet the governor’s anti-tax increase edict.
Jindal has threatened to veto the entire state budget if it relies on what he views as a “tax increase.”
Jindal may back a tax increase, but it must be offset dollar for dollar by a tax cut, tax elimination or tax credit. Some of the House-passed revenue generators have no offsets.
“We saw some movement. It’s important for the process to continue to move forward,” Jindal said as he met with reporters prior to heading to Tennessee for a political event.
He said his administration continues to meet with House and Senate leaders on a solution.
“Some of those bills need to be offset,” Jindal said, such as a proposed 32-cent-per-pack cigarette tax raising $68 million. “We are still opposed to raising taxes.”
Every bill does not require a corresponding offset, Jindal said. One example would be “trimming back some of these refundable tax credits” when they exceed a businesses tax liability, he said. He said overpayment amounts to “corporate welfare.”
“I’m glad they did pass some trimming back of the refundable tax credits,” he said.
The revenue-raising bills should not be viewed in “isolation,” Jindal said. “It’s a complex process with a lot of moving parts.”
Jindal met with reporters in his State Capitol office before traveling to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to speak at the Rutherford County Reagan Day Dinner. On Saturday, Jindal will be in Greenville, South Carolina, to speak at the South Carolina Freedom Summit.
In the wide-ranging session, Jindal also said he:
- Supports New Iberia state Sen. Fred Mills’ bill establishing regulations and licensing requirements for medical marijuana in Louisiana. “I’m not aware of any great concerns we have got with the senator’s bill,” he said. He said the key are standards to ensure the medical marijuana is “used for a legitimate medical purpose.” Mills’ bill cleared the Senate earlier this week and is awaiting House debate.
- Endorses the business-backed anti-union paycheck protection legislation. The bill seeks to ban teachers and other public employee unions from having membership dues automatically deducted from paychecks.
- Promotes legislation that would add new provisions to state ethics laws impacting the superintendent of education, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members and their immediate family. The legislation is related to the fight over Common Core, which Jindal opposes and state Superintendent of Education John White favors as well as BESE. “It’s important to have our educational leadership fully committed to Louisiana standards,” Jindal said, noting some, i.e., White, have ties to national groups aligned with Common Core.
Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter, @MarshaShulerCNB. For more coverage of the state capitol, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.