Two Louisiana Republicans recently lashed out at Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) for hurting the state just to keep the "insane" anti-tax pledge he made to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.
The Times-Picayune reported this week that Republican state Rep. Jay Morris had blasted the governor for effectively giving Americans for Tax Reform veto power over the state's budget at a time when lawmakers were trying to deal with a projected $1.6 billion budget gap.
"I'm no psychologist or psychiatrist but in my opinion what is going on as we approach session is insane," Morris wrote in a letter to constituents. "The insanity has its roots in the Governor's pledge to the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the taxpayer advocacy group based in Washington, DC headed by its founder, Grover Norquist."
According to Morris, officials in Jindal's administration had warned lawmakers during a recent Republican retreat that any attempt to reduce tax credits for businesses would have to be approved by Norquist's group.
"The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR), in speaking to a group of legislators where I was present, plainly stated, in no uncertain terms, that the administration won't agree with any proposal which doesn't get the seal of approval from ATR and the Governor will veto any proposals that don't have the ATR's approval," Morris noted.
In a column on his blog, Republican state Rep. Tim Burns also pointed to Jindal's allegiance to Americans for Tax Reform.
"Louisiana is facing perhaps its worst fiscal crises in decades and this time no one is exaggerating for political rhetoric purposes," Burns explained. "To make matters even more interesting, a powerful national group, the Americans for Tax Reform has become involved in the budget battle and Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal, appears to be actively seeking the Republican nomination for President."
"I’m a conservative Republican, but I don’t think that it’s necessarily COMMUNIST TO MAKE BUSINESSES PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF DOING BUSINESS IN YOUR STATE, particularly one with abundant natural resources such as Louisiana," he continued. "Average citizens pay for the privilege of using resources of the state so business should also."
A Times-Picayune editorial on Wednesday echoed the outrage expressed by Morris and Burns.
"Gov. Jindal isn't the only one to pledge his fealty to Americans for Tax Reform. Twenty-six state legislators made the no-tax promise to the group. But some of them see the folly of sticking with the pledge," the paper observed.
"It is no surprise that the governor is making decisions based on how they will play with Americans for Tax Reform," The Times-Picayune added. "He's trying to win over conservative presidential primary voters for 2016 with his anti-tax credentials and his rejection of the Affordable Care Act and Common Core academic standards. Throw in his rants about President Obama's approach to Iran and Islamic terrorists, and that about sums up his national campaign platform."