Louisiana editorial: March 24
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., on the governor’s tax plan:
When Gov. Bobby Jindal kicked over the anthill of the tax code, he unleashed a lot of fire ants which are now scurrying around looking for legislators — or a governor — to sting, because the Jindal proposals may hurt many interest groups.
We question the wisdom of the main focus of Jindal’s plan, which is to shift the tax burden from income taxes to sales taxes. But within that broad description are a large number of other changes, and we think there are several which deserve consideration, apart from the Legislature’s larger decision about the sales tax increase.
Even if the Jindal plan is rejected, there are parts of it that deserve to live.
The Public Affairs Research Council noted with approval two of the ideas from Tim Barfield and Stephen Moret, the governor’s key aides on this front.
One is a restructuring, with an eye to reduction, of the movie tax credits, and considerable changes in the Enterprise Zone tax credit program. ...
The problem with almost all of these programs is that they promise economic development by spending the taxpayers’ money in this “vision” of rosy scenarios, backed up by heavy lobbying for the favored industry among politicians.
What do we actually get? All too often, “a large, perpetual and growing subsidy” for businesses that take the money for activities that they probably would do anyway, because the underlying economic reasons for a business activity are far more important than state tax breaks. ...
If Jindal’s discussions this year yield anything, it is, we hope, that the perpetual subsidies ought to get term-limited — and firmly.