CNBC Debate Moderator Harwood Hounds Jindal Over Cutting Spending In Louisiana

October 28th, 2015 8:39 PM

As I noted earlier this evening, in an early question in the undercard GOP debate tonight, CNBC's John Harwood pressed Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) on his staunch opposition to tax hikes. Well, later in the same debate, Harwood hit Jindal from the other side of the ledger as regards spending cuts, and the $1.6-million shortfall that the state treasury saw earlier this year. It, by the way, has since been closed.

Here's the relevant transcript:

Republican Presidential Debate
Oct. 28, 2015; 6:58 p.m. Eastern

CARL QUINTANILLA: Governor Jindal, I'll give you 30 seconds on this.

Gov. BOBBY JINDAL (R-La.): Thank you. Look, if Senator Santorum wants to concede the tax-cut wing of the Republican party, I'm happy to fight for that side of the Republican Party. He's right, I explicitly want to shrink the size of government 22 percent over ten years is not too much.

We've got our state budget 26 percent in eight years. This is a fundamental choice. We mustn't become a cheaper version of the Democratic Party, a second liberal party. We need to proudly say we're willing to cut taxes shrink government, grow the American economy. President Kennedy said it in the Democratic Party, why can't we say it in the Republican Party in 2015? Let's cut taxes.

JOHN HARWOOD: Governor, if you cut spending and cut government so much, why did your legislature have such a big deficit?

JINDAL: John, our budget's balanced. We balanced our budget every year for eight years. Yeah, we've had to cut spending. You know what, we privatized or closed nine of our ten charity hospitals. We did statewide school choice.

HARWOOD: $1.6 million budget gap.

JINDAL: You're quoting an old number from the beginning of the year. We closed that gap. What they've talked about, just like D.C., government's the only place where if you give them less money than they wanted they count it as a cut. They take last year's budget, they add inflation, they call it a baseline.

We need to do zero-based budgeting. We need to say just because you got money last year, you don't have it this year-- let me close though -- we balanced our budget. We didn't raise taxes. In eight years we've never raised taxes, we cut taxes. Our taxpayers, our families are the better off.