The Associated Press recently ran a headline Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) campaign team probably didn’t want to see: “Jindal to leave Louisiana’s next governor with budget mess.”
The headline understated the case. The Republican governor’s tax breaks failed to deliver the economic growth Jindal expected, and the resulting fiasco is just ugly – the far-right policymaker inherited a healthy, $900 million budget surplus from his Democratic predecessor, but Jindal is wrapping up his second term struggling to fill a $1.6 billion budget hole.
But Bloomberg Politics reported yesterday that, despite these conditions, the likely Republican presidential candidate is prepared to protect certain expenses Jindal considers important. That includes, for example, protecting benefits for his favorite reality-TV show.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a potential Republican presidential candidate, is trying to close a $1.6 billion budget hole without touching as much as $415,000 per episode in tax breaks that may be due to “Duck Dynasty.”The A&E television reality show takes part in the nation’s most generous entertainment-tax credit program. Jindal is proposing no changes, arguing that reducing such breaks is tantamount to raising taxes. The state approves enough incentives each year to make up at least $200 million in proposed cuts that led Louisiana State University to say that it may plan for insolvency.
Louisiana’s fiscal outlook continues to deteriorate and state economic growth is among the worst of any state in the nation.
Ed Kilgore added that the closer one looks at Jindal’s policy, the more egregious it appears [updated, see below].
[I]t’s not enough for Louisiana to let film and TV production companies eliminate their state tax liabilities; the state gives them “transferable” tax credits that can be sold on special markets to companies that do have tax liability, and if that fails the state will buy them back. So this is the corporate version of the “refundable tax credits” poor people get via the EITC.This makes me kind of ill as an abstract matter, and gives a whole new meaning to the term “corporate welfare.” But it’s especially egregious in a state like Louisiana, with a horrendous budget shortfall, and even violates Jindal’s own principle that cutting back on refundable tax credits (e.g., credits from the business inventory tax) doesn’t violate his no-tax-increase pledge.
How Jindal plans to parlay a record like this into a successful national campaign remains something of a mystery.