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Thursday, 02 June 2011 15:56
Tucker Calls Jindal’s Retirement Proposal A Louisiana Tax, Raises Hairs
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Jindal's bookBook it. Governor Bobby Jindal appears to be having another bad hair week at the Louisiana Capitol.

Today it was revealed that House Speaker Jim Tucker has written a letter to Rep. Talbot (R-Jefferson) who has authored House Bill 479 related to state employee retirement benefits.  The letter reportedly said that Tucker was declaring an increase in the retirement charges set out in the legislation to be a payroll tax increase.

The legislation has been a key part of Jindal’s effort to cushion the $1.6B budget-free-fall which the state apparently now is in, part, due to the fact that the once-“despised stimulus money” has now been spent.

The last thing the “no-new-tax” Governor wants would be to support a tax increase.  He has opposed cigarette tax increases and has centered his administration’s policy and his future career opportunities around reducing taxes, not raising them.

In fact, Jindal opened the regular session this spring with a speech focused upon the importance of not raising taxes.

Jindal has hoped that a small, but important part of the budget hole could be filled by $24 million coming from most of the employees in the state’s retirement system paying an additional 3 percent of their salaries for their pensions.

This comes at a time when some of his legislative allies have joined his usual opposition in opposing his ideas to use one-time income for balancing the budget.

It also comes at a time when some of the legislators are supporting Senator David Vitter’s position that the Jindal-supported building of a University Medical Center is an unnecessary future expense for the State.

There are rumors that the tension between the Governor and the Speaker are at an all-time low and some wonder if they are even speaking.

Last year, Governor Jindal wrote a book called Leadership and Crises during the middle of one of the xx worse tragedies ever to inflict the state—the BP oil spill.

In the book, he extolled his conservative philosophy and his abilities to manage doomsday events.

With the House falling upon him or at least upon his approach towards balancing the budget without raising taxes, Governor Jindal needs to muster all of the leadership skills of which he can speak to handle this crises.

If not, he just might be heading into some political hair-raising experiences over the next few weeks as the legislature tries to balance the steep budget hole upon the careers of some of our state leaders.

Stephen Sabludowksyby Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com

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