The state is in a budget hole once again. Governor Jindal is now in his second year of his second term and begins his lame duck era. Voters are angry, want change, want term limits and are afraid of losing the healthcare, paying more for higher education and trying to make ends meet.
How is the news media bracing for the start of the session and Jindal’s address to both houses? Here is a sample of reports published hours before the real debates begin:
There are a number of bills regarding gun rights, a budget to be balanced and Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to get rid of state income taxes.
Skeptical lawmakers will get a pitch from Jindal for his tax system revamp that will do away with state income taxes, in exchange for increased sales taxes charged on more items, boosted tobacco taxes and removal of some tax breaks.
The legislative session that convened today at noon will have no shortage of high-profile issues, beginning with Gov. Bobby Jindal's ambitious tax swap plan and his administration's proposed budget, which is facing a $1.3 billion shortfall.
Controversial retirement and education reforms passed last year and subsequently challenged by the courts are back again for another vote during the session, which ends June 6.
The Republican governor has said the rewrite is fairer to households and better for business.
But the tax package has run into strong opposition from across the political spectrum and from a leading business lobbying group.
Lawmakers have said they don't see how the governor could get legislative passage of the proposal in its current form.
Last session, Jindal passed education and pension overhauls without much debate in the legislature. After the session, the laws were overturned and are currently pending in state Supreme Court. "It exhausted the patience of a lot of legislators who had to go home and listen to complaints," Mann said.
Now lawmakers are more wary of what voters think. And polls show Jindal’s tax plan is unpopular.
Poll respondents also said they’re tired of budget cuts. The Fiscal Hawks, a group of economically conservative republicans, are proposing to restructure how the state’s budget is prioritized and get rid of the use of one-time funds – and stabilize midyear cuts caused by those funds not materializing.
“But inherent in that is also austerity," Mann said. "It doesn’t in a long-term fashion help the state’s fiscal situation.”
So what would?
How would you like to pay a state sales tax to get your haircut? Well, pretty soon if you’re somewhere in neighboring Louisiana and need to get your locks sheared, be prepared to see a sales tax added to your bill.
That’s going to happen if Gov. Bobby Jindal gets his celebrated “tax swap” passed by the state Legislature when it meets in May.
Jindal is one of a pack of Republican governors planning to abolish their individual and corporate income taxes purportedly to stimulate economic development. To offset the income loss, Jindal, et al propose to raise the sales tax and eliminate dozens of exemptions from the sales levy, one of them haircuts.
Read more:Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal