In Stephanie Grace’s Dec. 14 column, “The pledge against common sense,” she wrote that I insist that the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a promise to Louisiana taxpayers. In truth, I don’t have to insist as much; the clear language of the pledge, which Grace quotes after the first sentence, makes clear that it is a commitment to taxpayers, no insisting required. “I pledge to the taxpayers of the state …” is how beginning of the pledge reads.
A change in tax law that raises revenue for the state and reduces revenue for Louisiana individuals, families or employers is a tax increase. If lawmakers wish to eliminate credits or deductions whose merit they dispute, the best way to do so is as part of comprehensive tax reform that reduces broad-base taxes for all, such as an income tax cut. This is what President Ronald Reagan did in 1986, it’s what North Carolina legislators did in 2013 and it’s what U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah — the incoming chairman of the Senate tax-writing committee — has made clear is what the new Republican majority on Capitol Hill will pursue in 2015.
Lastly, critics of Gov. Bobby Jindal claim that he only opposes tax increases because he signed the pledge. It’s actually the reverse. Jindal signed the pledge to Louisiana taxpayers because he recognizes the economic damage that would result from higher taxes on Louisiana families and businesses.
Patrick M. Gleason
director of state affairs, Americans for Tax Reform