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GOPurity Über Alles?

As the reader who posted this John Maginnis column to a previous comment said, “Unbelievable.” Look:

Given the steep decrease in telephone land lines and the explosion in cell phones, the legislative bill to adjust the tax to pay for telecommunications services for the deaf seemed fair and reasonable. The bill before the House early in the session decreased the 5-cents-per-month tax on land lines to 2 cents and expanded it to cover wireless lines, which are currently untaxed. The penny ante tax swap would restore the Telecommunications for the Deaf Fund, which had fallen by half in recent years, to its 2005 level. But because fractions of cents can’t go on phone bills, the 2-cent levy would result in the deaf fund receiving about a half million dollars extra.

That overage, however, was a problem for the man in charge of tax policy in Louisiana. Grover Norquist would not hear of it. Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, D.C., and creator of the pledge signed by many American politicians to oppose all net tax increases. Certainly, he wasn’t following the debate at the time, but staff members for his ally, Gov. Bobby Jindal, sent word to legislators that a vote for House Bill 238 would be scored by ATR as a tax increase and, thus, a violation of the pledge.

The House passed the bill overwhelmingly anyway. … The next week Jindal, who also has signed Norquist’s pledge, said he would veto the bill in its current form, but that it need not come to that. He offered to the author, Rep. Patrick Williams, D-Shreveport, to replace the money from the tax bill with another revenue source.

However itty-bitty the tax, however impossible it would be for ratepayers to notice it on their bills, it is still a TAX, and therefore IMPURE by modern Republican standards, at least by the standards of modern Republicans who intend to stand in GOP presidential primaries. Tough titty, deaf Louisianians!

Is Maginnis’s read incorrect? Is there an alternative explanation? Let’s hear it.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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