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Jindal Not Done Yet?

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AP Photo

My first reaction to the news that Jindal is withdrawing his tax plan was relief; however, the governor's plan wasn't well studied and didn't have a lot of allies in the business community, so it's not entirely surprising that it's gone down in flames. I don't think it's completely dead, though. Jindal absolutely expects to get a complete income tax repeal out of this session, and the legislature is still afraid enough of him to deliver it. However, without any of the attendant sales tax increases, the offsets will be only from cuts: heavy, deep cuts to health services and higher education, after six straight years of heavy, deep cuts to health services and higher education.

This is how he will get what he wants: the credit for repealing the income tax with none of the blame for the cuts that will follow. And because his original plan was intended to be "revenue neutral," he will even get to demagogue the legislature for ignoring his plan and cutting too much, even though the governor could care less about how much gets cut.

The legislature could avoid this outcome by ignoring the governor's intent to repeal the income tax. I don't think they will, though. Even though the governor's poll numbers have cratered, he is still incredibly powerful in this state. He has spent the last few years systematically removing everyone who has ever crossed him. LSU has even run afoul of its accreditation organization (SACS) because of basic governance issues.

The chaos right now could mean that we won't get a tax bill at all, which is probably the best possible outcome. If we do get a bill, it'll be tax cuts only, and it will shred what's left of the safety net.