Louisiana’s state budget is in shambles under Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. The Governor’s dogmatic anti-tax ideology, coupled with dropping oil prices, has put Louisiana 1.6 billion dollars in the red. The state has become an economic basket case, and Governor Jindal’s approval rating has plummeted to just 27 percent, according to a March 2015 Triumph Campaigns poll.
Despite the state’s economic woes, however, Governor Jindal has made no plans to cut millions of dollars in subsidies to the Duck Dynasty TV show. Louisiana has the nation’s most generous entertainment tax credit program, which doles out generous sums to subsidize filming, including funds for filming the show Duck Dynasty.
Feeding Time Productions LLC, the producer of Duck Dynasty, is seeking 11 million dollars in new tax credits for the next four years to subsidize costs for filming the show. Since Governor Jindal has proposed no changes to the entertainment tax credit program, that funding is likely to be approved.
Although Louisiana only recovered 23 cents in revenue for every entertainment credit dollar it approved of in 2013 and 2014, Jindal wants to preserve the status quo. He regards removing entertainment subsidies as tantamount to a tax hike. Since Jindal fancies himself an anti-tax Governor, removing tax credits is simply unthinkable, no matter how grave the state’s budget situation becomes.
Ironically, Phil Robertson, the bearded right-wing Christian patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan, has been a sharp critic of welfare, even as his show has collected generous handouts from Louisiana’s state government. Apparently welfare that helps the poor is bad policy, but corporate welfare that is doled out to the already wealthy, is just fine with him.
Even some Republicans are beginning to criticize Jindal’s handling of the state’s finances as well as questioning Louisiana’s corporate welfare handouts during a time of economic crisis. Baton Rouge Republican blogger Scott McKay, for example, argues against Jindal’s potential presidential candidacy by noting:
If you are looking for a Republican nominee for 2016, he’s a bad choice. Republicans are supposed to balance budgets. The budget has never really been one of Bobby’s things.
Quite frankly the same criticism could be applied to several other Republican candidates angling to become President. Many of them are reflexively anti-tax. They are also hypocritically opposed to welfare that benefits the poor while lavishing government favor on the well-to-do.
Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana is drowning in debt. Yet, Jindal still hasn’t decided to let Duck Dynasty float without the assistance of government tax credits. It’s time for Jindal to let Duck Dynasty sink or swim on its own, so that he can fix the state’s budget, and work to help the other 4.6 million Louisiana residents who aren’t part of a lucrative reality TV show.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.