I read with chagrin our legislators’ comments regarding the lack of proposals or leadership from the Governor’s Office. Why would they expect anything else when, as the governor was quoted in The Advocate, he has been nothing but consistent for the last seven years. He has certainly been consistent guiding this state to the edge of the financial precipice on which we now stand. His pledge to Grover Norquist has always meant more to him than the oath he took upon becoming governor of this state.
The list of people and entities he has helped is short, big business and those in the upper brackets mainly, while the list of those he has harmed is very long. Let’s just say if you are a government worker or retiree, an educator, a student (or the parent of one), physically or mentally ill or disabled (or have a loved one who is), a low-paid worker, a single parent or poor, Bobby Jindal is not your friend. I say this to remind our legislators that there is a huge base of public support for you to take the drastic action needed right now to put Louisiana back on a path to fiscal and moral sanity.
To address the very alarming $1.6 billion deficit, take these three steps:
First, reinstate the Stelly Plan individual income tax rates. These were designed to be fair, would spread the pain evenly and would involve no new corporate or business taxes.
Second, do away with or greatly reduce state giveaways, such as film tax credits, Department of Economic Development incentives, multiyear tax exemptions and many others (including all legislative scholarships). After all, New Orleans is New Orleans and the Mississippi River is the Mississippi River, and most of these businesses will continue to come here for those reasons alone.
Third, pass legislation to force acceptance of the Medicare expansion of the Affordable Care Act. Louisiana federal tax money is going to other states while we get nothing. This is insane. Failure to do so will cause continued defaults by the public health systems in this state.
“But the governor is sure to veto these bills,” I hear our legislators cry. I agree. However, I remind them that they have the constitutional power to override any veto with a two-thirds vote. This is simple American Civics 101. They can tell Gov. Jindal and all other juvenile-minded officials to go play in the Capitol sandbox, and may the rest stand up and find the wisdom and courage to defy this governor. Send a message that Grover Norquist and his gang do not run the great state of Louisiana. Put the people you are sworn to serve first. You will be esteemed by many and your reward will be great, I assure you.
Are there enough good men and women in today’s legislature to take such bold action?
Louisiana waits and wonders.
Julius D, Nesom Jr.
retired business owner