Robideaux et al pen missive to Norquist

by Walter Pierce

The question is: Why the hell should state lawmakers care what some bombastic, Beltway, anti-tax zealot thinks with regard to our state budget?

State Rep. Joel Robideaux, who helped scuttle Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ridiculous SAVE Act — Senate Bill 284, which establishes tax credits to help college students and their families offset new “income, sales and use, gasoline and special fuel taxes” resulting from legislative action to raise state revenue and close the $1.6 billion budget gap for the coming fiscal year — has sent a letter to Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist asking the tax gadfly to clarify how passage of SB 284 would be revenue neutral. Gov. Bobby Jindal, beholden to Norquist after signing the latter’s “no new taxes” pledge, has threatened to veto the budget if SB 284 isn’t passed. (Otherwise, one of the essential bullet points on Jindal’s presidential résumé — never having raised taxes as governor — wouldn’t meet muster with the who-gives-a-damn-what-he-thinks-anyway? Norquist.)

As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Robideaux led the charge in tabling SB 284 in committee last week, and he seems to actually be showing a little moxie (unlike previous years when he skipped happily along with Jindal’s budget chicanery) in the face of the veto threat.

Yet we can’t help but wonder why he’s even bothering to seek Norquist’s advice in the matter. Rather, we would prefer if Robideaux were leading the charge to generate enough support among his fellow lawmakers to convene a veto-override session should Jindal veto a sans-SB 284 budget. Would there be a greater rebuke as Jindal announces that he plans to seek the Republican presidential nomination than to have the GOP-controlled Legislature of the state he has so poorly and selfishly governed for eight years telling him, in effect, to bite it?

According to the letter, reproduced below, the concern of Robideaux and his fellow signees is mainly due to their interpretation that SB 284 could be used by future governors and Legislatures to raise taxes and call them revenue-neutral by creating tax credits that have no real-world application.

Robideaux defended Ways and Means’ shelving of the bill in exchanges with constituents on Facebook. (See that thread below the letter.)

From Facebook today (Monday, June 8):