The recent debacle over Louisiana’s tax credits for vehicles that run on alternative fuels reminds me of a memorable scene from Casablanca. In the classic 1942 film, Capt. Louis Renault, the ethically malleable chief of the local gendarmes, loudly blows his police whistle and announces to an overflow crowd at Rick’s Cafe that he is closing the popular nightclub and casino.
When Rick, portrayed by Humphrey Bogart, demands to know why, Renault piously proclaims, “I’m shocked — shocked! — to find that gambling is going on in here!”
That scene perfectly sums up the hypocrisy on parade in Baton Rouge these days as relates to Act 469 of 2009. The act grants income tax credits up to $3,000 for those who buy vehicles that burn “alternative fuels.” The act defines such fuels broadly, including “compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, biofuel, biodiesel, methanol, ethanol and electricity.”
House Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, quickly took advantage and filed amended tax returns. Fannin, in fact, claimed two vehicles.
Then came news, via the Monroe News-Star, that the fiscal impact of the act had suddenly shot up from the $1 million projected in 2009 to $100 million this year — thanks to Bridges’ retroactive ruling.
At that point, Fannin and other lawmakers proclaimed themselves shocked — shocked! — to find that Bridges had expanded the application of the law so widely, notwithstanding its plain language. Fannin, doing his best impression of Capt. Renault, solemnly told the News-Star, “It could wreck us. … I just found out about it before the (legislative) session ended (June 4).”
See the rest of the piece here.
Shocked … Shocked!
by Clancy DuBos | June 26, 2012