Recently, the President of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Stephen Waguespack, called the surge in taxes (to help close the biggest hole in Louisiana budget in modern history) as likely the biggest increase in taxes in one day in the state’s history.
Yet, despite this effort, even by Republicans, to balance the budget by revenue raisers and cuts, there are concerns that the budgets over the next few years will be even worse than that of this year.
Critics of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal have claimed the major reason for this $1.6B deficit is the efforts by Jindal (and cooperating lawmakers) to reduce taxes so Louisiana could become highly-ranked “business friendly”, which would benefit Jindal’s presidential resume.
Yet, some argue the problem for Jindal supporters and for republicans in general and perhaps for the leading gubernatorial candidate, Republican US Senator David Vitter, is raising taxes is antithetical to the conservative republican philosophy.
Former Louisiana State Senator, Secretary of State, and Insurance Commissioner, Jim Brown and former Jefferson Parish Assessor and Republican Party leader, Lawrence Chehardy discussed these issues in a google hangout with Bayoubuzz publisher Stephen Sabludowsky.
Below is a rough overview of the hangout conversation. Click on any of the hyperlinked time stamps to watch the relevant portions of the interview.
The entire interview can be found at Louisiana Democrats run against Jindal, conservatives, Vitter’s record?
0:00SABLUDOWSKY: (Responding to Lawrence Chehardy’s statement that Jindal has no record to run on) although Jindal has no record to run on, he will claim that he does and those in the national media interviewing him do not interrogate him or question the veracity of his claims
0:38SABLUDOWSKY: with the governor's race coming up and the Louisiana legislative races, art the issues in the election going to be based upon Jindal's and his supporter's policies which appear to be creating this budgetary problem the state is currently in? Thus, art the Democrats going to run against those policies? What Republican is going to do that?
2:18 CHEHARDY says, let's ask them. BROWN: it seems that so far, none of the candidates are saying that they will not take the Medicaid money under the Obama care. He believes that dog Dan and and Shell have said they would take the money and Vitter "probably yes". They are all critical of the tax breaks in the giveaways, with given the Department of Louisiana economic development "a checkbook and said go buy any business anyway you can". There seems to be more cautious rhetoric in terms of Jindal's policies but no specifics. Blanco left Louisiana $1 billion in surplus, compared to ages ago, at lease it is not "no, no", let's talk about social issues you'll see that in the debate so far.
4:07 SABLUDOWSKY: people on focus on the elections right now, but for example, David Vitter was against the stimulus, was against the bill out and didn't want to spend a penny of government money and railed against anybody who want to do that and now he's saying "what's wrong with the government? What's wrong with government money? Let's take it. That's hypocrisy isn't it?"
4:39 BROWN: "well, he will be the first hypocrite". He might do you like girl long and say when asked,"Tell the Bastards, I lied". I think Vitter knows that he's got a massive problem and "he's not trying to paint himself until a corner where he can't use these funds. I hope he uses the funds I think it's a disaster to have not taken the funds to begin with"
5:22 SABLUDOWSKY: so even though the Democrats who may be despised and the Louisiana, when you say that their argument might resonate more? I know that Bernie Pinsonat's poll, says that the likely voters are more inclined to vote Republican and Democrat--but the arguments have not really been out there. Just wondering if the Democrats are going to be able to make a comeback because even Vitter is not to have to make a Democratic-based argument?
6:12 CHEHARDY: although I think Pinsonat's poll is accurate, I think the race has not really been run yet, although Edwards is likely to make that argument and he will attempt to wrap those policies around the other candidates and the question is will all the voters distinguish these candidates from Bobby Jindal. If they don't, you going to see those number change. "Edwards is going to be doing much better than he is doing right now". However if the voters like general Republican philosophy more than the Democratic than a Republican is going to win. "We have to run the race"
7:41 BROWN: I agree. Louisiana has more focus on social issues than any other state country-- for example gay marriage, abortion, so many of these social issues-- that drives so much of the vote from the north of Baton Rouge to Republicans. You may be on food stamps, you may have an eighth grade education, maybe living in my home district Ferriday-- "but by and all you vote Republican". It may be a racial tone to it. Edwards might grow in a runoff but you get the knee-jerk Republicans, whether it's racial or social are going to pull the Republican lever." We've seen that with Mary Landrieu, we've seen that with Bernie's poll, we've seen that time at the time, and I don't think that is going to change
9:03 SABLUDOWSKY: maybe it's too late for the Louisiana Democratic Party to become more conservative, a lot of people believe that it is run by a bunch of liberals and that it doesn't have the same type of conservative infrastructure that it had maybe 8 to 10 years ago