The three candidates for governor fighting for second place in the primary election tried in a televised forum Wednesday to distinguish themselves from each other while also seeking to peel votes away from front-runner. Democrat Foster Campbell said his plans for a new tax on oil and gas processed in Louisiana would raise billions of dollars to cover the costs of repairing the state’s coastline, improving health care services, building roads around Louisiana – and doing away with state income taxes on businesses and residents.
Walter Boasso, also a Democrat, called Campbell’s tax plan an unrealistic idea that would languish for years in court. He said he could afford to cover his plans for coastal protection projects, health care improvements and road repairs with existing dollars by getting rid of inefficiencies and duplications in government.
John Georges, an independent, said his experience as a businessman will help him improve the way government is run. He said he’d put the lieutenant governor working on economic development projects and hire a recovery czar to help Louisiana rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“The problem that governors have had in the past is they haven’t wanted to give authority to other people,” said Georges, a New Orleans area businessman.
All three men are hoping to force Jindal – who is polling far ahead of them – into a November runoff election. The primary election is Saturday.
Jindal didn’t attend the forum. He was represented by an empty chair.
Though Jindal didn’t attend the debate, he was present in both the questions and responses.