Though its adherence became a political football in the most recent legislative session, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has again signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s no-new-tax pledge — this time for his presidential campaign.
Gov. Bobby Jindal
ATR, in a Tuesday news release, applauded Jindal’s latest signing of the Grover Norquist-designed “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”
“Gov. Jindal understands that government should be reformed so that it takes and spends less of the taxpayers’ money, and will oppose tax increases that paper over and continue the failures of the past,” Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said in the release.
Jindal, who has trailed in the crowded GOP presidential candidate pool since launching his campaign June 24, signed the pledge throughout his tenure as governor. But it earned more attention this session as it became a particular point of frustration for Louisiana lawmakers who struggled to fill a $1.6 billion budget gap this session while keeping to Jindal’s “revenue neutral” promise.
Jindal’s administration ultimately came up with a widely-criticized scheme involving cigarette taxes, refundable tax credits and a virtual credit for college students.
Officials acknowledged that ATR was being consulted throughout the budgeting process so that the plan would not violate Jindal’s pledge. At one point, state lawmakers, frustrated by what they saw as constraints on the process, even reached out to Norquist himself for advice.
The whole ordeal prompted Democratic political analyst James Carville to argue in a letter to the LSU student newspaper that the pledge — and Jindal’s fear of breaking it — had made Washington D.C.-based Norquist “the most powerful person in our state.”
“Proposed legislation is routinely sent to him by the governor to seek his approval. Trust me its true,” Carville wrote.
According to ATR, in addition to Jindal, Republican presidential candidates who have signed the pledge so far include Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore.
Donald Trump, the leading Republican in the polls, however, has reportedly been skeptical of the pledge, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said he opposes tax hikes but has opted not to sign the pledge.