Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is dropping his deeply unpopular tax plan after several weeks of outcry from advocates for the poor and business groups alike. The proposal would have abolished income and corporate taxes in exchange for a higher sales tax, effectively hitting the poor with higher taxes while giving the wealthiest Louisiana residents enormous tax cuts.
In a speech to open the 2013 legislative session, Jindal announced he would give in to the pushback:
I realize that some of you think I haven’t been listening. But you’ll be surprised to learn I have been. And here is what I’ve heard from you and from the people of Louisiana — yes, we do want to get rid of the income tax, but Governor, you’re moving too fast and we aren’t sure that your plan is the best way to do it.
So I’ve thought about that. And it certainly wasn’t the reaction I was hoping to hear. And now I’m going to give you my response and it’s not the response people are accustomed to hearing from politicians. Here is my response: Ok, I hear you. So I am going to park my tax plan.
Now, to be clear, I still like my plan. but I recognize success requires give and take. And I recognize that in this instance, I need to be the one who gives so that we can have the chance to achieve success. But I’m not going to pout, I’m not going to take my ball and go home.
Jindal’s plan would have raised taxes on an estimated 80 percent of the state’s residents while cutting taxes by more than $25,000 for the richest 1 percent. The poorest Louisianans already pay a higher share of their incomes in taxes than the wealthiest 1 percent, and Jindal’s regressive tax would have added an average of $395 of taxes on the poorest 20 percent.
While acknowledging the vehement opposition to his plan, Jindal still called for the abolishment of the income tax, without specifying how he would replace it without shifting the same repercussions onto low-income Louisianans. The governor’s approval rating plummeted in the past few months. Two-thirds of Louisianans explicitly opposed his tax plan.