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Why doesn't Blanco push tax cuts like other governors?

Upon reading about the tremendous tax cuts other Democrat governors have delivered to the citizens of their states, you have to ask, why not in Louisiana?

If Oklahoma’s Gov. Brad Henry could give cuts in the area of $777 million in the past two years, why can’t fellow Democrat Louisiana’s Gov. Kathleen Blanco do the same? (And what about cutting by other Democrat governors including New Mexico’s Bill Richardson – a former Clinton appointee!) After all, in the special sessions after the 2005 hurricane disasters the state cut about that much from its budget – and then Blanco stumped to restore almost all of those cuts in the 2006 regular session. Why could not the cuts have been translated into tax cuts?

The states have the same basic potential. Both have a heritage as oil-producing states nad those prices are going through the ceiling now. In fact, Louisiana has more slack because (for the latest year available, 2003) it ranked 23rd in per capita revenues coming into state government, while Oklahoma was only 42nd, yet they are almost even in terms of expenditures per capita (for the latest year available, 2003) with Oklahoma being a little higher. (Teachers there even got a raise this year – and still they make less than the typical Louisiana teacher.)

This creates a situation very hard to understand. Louisiana takes in, per capita, $435 more than it spends, while Oklahoma actually spends $115 per capita more than it takes in (in 2003). Yet Oklahoma is the one cutting taxes and Louisiana isn’t?

The question is worth restating: if a state like Oklahoma, whose government draws in fewer per capita resources than Louisiana’s and is a state not much “wealthier” than Louisiana (Oklahoma’s median annual household income being less than a $1,000 higher than Louisiana’s for the latest available year, 2003) can give tax cuts equal to five percent of its revenues, why has Blanco spent her time trying to raise taxes instead of generally cutting taxes?

Yesterday, Henry got renominated to run for reelection later this year. Next year, Blanco seeks reelection. Maybe it’s time Blanco got with the program.

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