Bobby Jindal on rebuilding


Congressman Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who was narrowly defeated in his run for governor by the hapless Governor Blanco, demonstrates again why he is one of the most promising figures for the future of the Republicans in an op—ed in the Washington Times.

Let us rebuild all that is great about the New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana area without rebuilding the 49th—worst health outcomes, 49th—worst educational scores and one of the nation's highest murder rates. There is no silver lining in a tragedy this size, but America has never before rebuilt a major city. This should not just be about large government expenditures to preserve all that is good and unique, while not recreating the many pre—Katrina challenges. But it should be about inviting leadership and investment from the private sector. 

The health—care system has a great need for community—based outpatient facilities, electronic patient records, bar coding of medical supplies and prescription drugs, and portable private insurance products that encourage patient empowerment. 

The high—rise public housing of the 1960s was unsafe, and should be replaced with vouchers for private—sector housing units, which integrate retail and jobs and provide homes for a diversity of families. 

Congress could postpone, or even eliminate, payment of 2004 and 2005 individual and business income taxes for Katrina's victims and waive penalties for withdrawals from tax—advantaged savings. 

We need to encourage economic growth by declaring New Orleans an "Economic Opportunity Zone" in which the capital—gains tax on investments is eliminated and government regulations are simplified or eliminated. In addition, we could allow businesses in the zone to fully expense business investments for the next five years, and eliminate tax depreciation lives of new capital equipment and facilities and "old capital" in order to reduce the cost to firms of purchasing new and more productive equipment and structures. 

Louisiana should waive its interest in patents and royalties for inventions created in state labs and classrooms, in exchange for the commercialization of those ideas within the state. 

We must immediately stop being one of the few states that taxes debt, new equipment and utilities — huge disincentives to business expansion. 

These and other bold tax initiatives are what are needed to bring new and stronger economic development to the state, and will ultimately generate for the region and the nation greater tax revenues.

Ed Lasky   9 21 05