As he seeks re-election to a second term, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will have a delicate dance to do on taxes, one of the chief points of criticism from his Republican challengers, The Daily Advertiser reports.
When he was a candidate in 2015, the Democrat Edwards said he didn’t expect to directly raise taxes to solve the state’s financial problems. Instead, working with a majority-Republican Legislature, he did just that.
As GOP critics seize on taxes as one of Edwards’ weak points, the incumbent governor is hoping to make the case that those tax hikes steadied Louisiana’s finances, ended a near-decade-long cycle of budget gaps, and established a stronger system of budgeting.
“The days of crippling deficits are behind us. We are budgeting smarter, more honestly and finally have the stability we need, the predictability that the state has needed for a long time.” Edwards said in a recent speech.
Whether voters believe Edwards’ financial narrative will be a key factor in determining if they back him in the Oct. 12 election, when he faces opposition from two Republican contenders, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, a longtime GOP donor.
Both Republican challengers suggest Edwards too easily turned to taxes to solve the state’s financial problems.
“He’s a tax and spend liberal,” Rispone said. Abraham slammed Edwards as enacting “the largest tax increase in state history.”