BATON ROUGE – Today Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger’s plan to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for Louisiana’s working families was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, over the bizarre and manufactured objections of Rep. Lenar Whitney. Whitney’s off-topic, unrelated questions served at once to underscore her disdain for doing the people’s business and her fundamental ignorance concerning immigration policy, tax policy, and the basic mechanics of governance.
While debating a bill that stands to benefit hardworking taxpayers and finally give a tax break to Louisiana families instead of out-of-state corporations, Whitney sought to derail the effort with a baseless appeal to fear and to ignorance. Putting politics ahead of people, as the state GOP is clearly determined to do this session, Whitney tried to turn a conversation about helping working families into an unrelated attack on President Obama— looking to score cheap political points at the expense of working families. That the bill passed despite her fear-mongering and craven pandering is a testament to the common support across party lines for increasing the EITC.
“When Rep. Whitney derailed the hearing by asking about an unrelated executive order on immigration policy, that was irrelevant. But when she insisted she could somehow channel the true intent behind the words of President Reagan, she steered her arguments right off the map,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “There’s a place to hone your stump-speech to the paranoid fringes, but a hearing to bring some needed relief to working Louisiana families is not it.”