Bobby Jindal’s Bold, Republican Future-Defining Tax Plan is No More

The shorthand version of current conservative thinking is this: Republicans need to be less like Bob McDonnell and more like Bobby Jindal. But McDonnell’s been polling extraordinarily well ever seen his agreed to a transportation-funding tax, and Benjy Sarlin has the latest on Jindal.

His approval rating plummeted to 38 percent in a poll last week by the non-partisan Southern Media Opinion & Research, down from 60 percent just a year ago. In an ominous sign for national Republicans, the immediate cause is a sweeping economic agenda with strong parallels to the House GOP’s latest budget.

On Monday, Jindal scrapped his own proposal to eliminate the state’s income and corporate taxes and replace them with a statewide tax on sales and business services. His retreat was a concession to the reality that the proposal was headed towards a humiliating defeat.

About that tax plan. Jindal’s big idea was scrapping the state’s income and business taxes (progressive) and replacing them with sales taxes. The least popular part of the plan, in part because it was unprecedented, would have been an internet sales tax. This carried the promise of a trend-setting idea. States without income taxes, said Jindal, boomed faster than states that collected those taxes. Data reveals that, yes, there’s relationship between growth and abolition of the tax, as long as your state is resource-rich enough to bring the cash in somehow.

But Jindal couldn’t make it happen. Today he dropped the tax change, like Virginia Republicans had to drop a more regressive version of the transportation bill.