Friday, February 26, 2016

Tough Talk in Louisiana

Bobby Jindal was governor of Louisiana for a while, but he wasn't much interested in the job. He spent his whole time in office running for president, in pursuit of which he pushed deep tax cuts and offered a long list of special tax break to corporations who would set up or expand operations in the state. The result is a huge budget shortfall in a state that already had a pretty small government. Among the people unhappy about the situation is the sheriff of suburban New Orleans:
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand on Tuesday (Feb. 23) said Bobby Jindal was an "idiot" that he regrets endorsing and admonished fellow Louisiana Republicans for resisting proposed tax increases aimed at closing the enormous budget shortfall left behind by the former governor.

Normand, the most popular elected official in conservative Jefferson Parish, lamented the state's budget crisis and its potential effects on law enforcement during a speech at the Metropolitan Crime Commission's annual awards luncheon.

"The state budget, what a mess," Normand said. "Bobby Jindal was a better cult leader than Jim Jones. We drank the elixir for eight years. We remained in a conscious state. We walked to the edge of the cliff and we jumped off and he watched us.

"And guess what? Unlike Jim Jones, he did not swallow the poison. What a shame."

Normand accused Jindal of "trying to rewrite history" since leaving office, attempting to deflect responsibility for budget gaps estimated at $943 million between now and the June 30 end of the fiscal year. The state is also estimated to face a $2 billion shortfall in the 2016-17 budget year.
Remember that Normand is the elected sheriff of one of the most conservative counties in America:
"We're facing enough challenges today," Normand said. "We do not need to face the stupidity of our leadership as it relates to how we're going to balance this budget, and talking about silly issues, because we're worried about what Grover Norquist thinks. To hell with Grover Norquist. I don't care about Grover Norquist. Give me a break."

Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, is the leading promoter of anti-tax pledges signed by many Republican politicians nationwide.

"We have to look at ourselves critically as a party, and figure out where we are and what we're going to be about," Normand said Tuesday. "The fact that the Republican leadership in this state is now trying to blame Gov. John Bel Edwards, who's only been in office a little over 40 days, is absolutely incredulous to me.

"C'mon folks, we have to wake up. Let us be honest about what we're doing. Propose a solution. Let's work together and collaboratively toward an outcome that's going to make sense for us as a society."
If the sheriff of Jefferson Parish can call for tax hikes, maybe all is not lost in America.

1 comment:

David said...

This is beautiful. I've reread it several times. In future years we may look back on statements like this as simply a hopeful might-have-been, but for now, it's good to see.