Former Jindal Administration staffers are calling on the House to pass the half-cent sales tax renewal that would fully fund state government, and avoid cuts to programs like TOPS. Former Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater says failing to pass the revenue bill would harm the most vulnerable people in the state.
“We can’t afford more cuts to higher education, healthcare, waiver programs, nursing homes, food stamps, we can’t afford it.”
Rainwater coauthored an editorial with former Jindal Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield coming out in support of the half-cent sales tax renewal.
Many legislators have credited the current fiscal crisis to fiscal mismanagement during the Jindal years, where one-time money was often used to fill budget holes, and deep cuts were enacted on higher education. Rainwater says both Jindal and Edwards’ administrations failed to get the legislature to bite on long-term tax reform that would end the cycle of fiscal cliffs.
“In 2013 we proposed tax reform, worked on it for six months we weren’t able to get it through. Governor Edwards and a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats proposed tax reform, they weren’t able to do it.”
Some have criticized the former Commissioner for coming out in support for the half-cent sales tax renewal, considering the Jindal Administration’s fiscal legacy and support for wide tax cuts. Rainwater isn’t buying it.
“I served my country in Afghanistan, in Iraq. I’m a citizen of this state, and this country and I have opinions. I’m proud of what we did, were we perfect? No, we weren’t. But the reality of it is a halfpenny is the right thing to do.”
Without additional revenue, TOPS would see a thirty percent cut, along with deep reductions in higher ed and other state services.