BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal told lawmakers on Monday that he's shelving his tax swap proposal rather than risk an embarrassing defeat of a restructuring plan that drew ire across the political spectrum and from business leaders.
But the Republican governor isn't giving up on his push to eliminate Louisiana's income taxes on individuals and businesses, just the part of the plan that had a specific list of ways to replace the lost revenue, including an unpopular sales tax hike.
Jindal told lawmakers on the opening day of the annual legislative session that he wants a plan to get rid of the income tax, suggesting he'd support a phase-out approach offered by several lawmakers — without offering any further parameters.
“Even if we park our plan, I'm calling on you, let's work together, let's pass a bill this session. Let's get rid of the income tax,” the governor told a joint meeting of the House and Senate.
Jindal's decision to scrap a tax package he announced nearly three months ago was a surprising acknowledgement of trouble for a governor who has regularly found success for his legislative agenda. However, Jindal's poll numbers have plummeted, and his relationships even with Republican lawmakers have grown rocky, so a shift in tactic could give him a victory to claim when the two-month legislative session ends on June 6.
Jindal had proposed to get rid of the income tax immediately. In exchange, he proposed increased sales taxes charged on more items, boosted tobacco taxes and removal of some tax breaks.
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