GOP golden child loses his sparkle: Jindal drops plan to scrap state income tax

Updated
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal addresses the Nebraska Republican Convention in Grand Island earlier this year.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal addresses the Nebraska Republican Convention in Grand Island earlier this year.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File

Sorry Bobby, but your grip as the GOP’s golden child is continuing to slip.

After facing months of backlash, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is temporarily abandoning his controversial plan to ditch his state’s income and corporate tax, leaving the state legislature to pick up the pieces on his crumbling proposal.

“I realize that some of you think I haven’t been listening. But you’ll be surprised to learn I have been,” Jindal said in a speech to open his state’s legislative session. “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.’”

Jindal says he is going to “park” the proposal until the legislature devises a way to carry out his plan, leaving the details up to the lawmakers. The Republican’s controversial exchange would have dropped the state income tax, leaving a higher and more broad sales tax to close the gap lost on revenue. However, the likelihood of state lawmakers taking up Jindal’s legislative priority appears to be dim—lawmakers have already indicated that the complex plan to phase out the state’s income tax is dead in the water.

Critics panned Jindal’s proposal for its fuzzy math, arguing that dropping the income tax would shift a disproportionate burden onto businesses and the poor. More than 250 clergy wrote to Jindal, arguing the plan would hurt working families. Meanwhile, according to the non-partisan Public Affairs Research Council, Jindal’s reforms could cost the state as much as $650 million in lost revenue.

“Now, to be clear, I still like my plan, but I recognize that success requires give and take,” Jindal said during his speech Monday.

Jindal, a prominent Republican with possible sights on a 2016 presidential campaign, has been panned for performing to the national stage over the needs of his constituents. He won re-election in 2011 with two-thirds of the vote, but his most recent approval ratings have since taken a nose dive to just 38%—worse than President Obama in the ultra-conservative Louisiana.

The state income tax reform proposal is just the latest of Jindal’s extreme policy angles to be shot down, even if just temporarily. In March, a Baton Rouge judge rejected Jindal’s teacher tenure and evaluation reform as unconstitutional.

According to prepared remarks, Jindal cast his state income tax concession as falling on his own sword as a sacrifice for the good of the party.

“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,” he said in his remarks. ”But I’m not going to pout, I’m not going to take my ball and go home.”

GOP golden child loses his sparkle: Jindal drops plan to scrap state income tax

Updated