I love the Fair Tax here for example. The key is simple, fair, no loopholes, putting the savings in lower rates making us a tax haven, rewarding savings and investment and doing away with the marriage penalty and AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax].
I have never seen Connie's plan and he could have been before me. There is no patent on this simple, fair, businesslike approach which we did in Louisiana 20 years ago, when we inherited a huge deficit.
RJ - If your plan was implemented, would you want the budget cuts to take place across the board, roughly equally in every department and agency of the federal government? Or would the cuts simply total one percent of GDP, but with some areas of the federal government being cut more and some areas cut less?
Buddy Roemer - I have never cut across the board, but judged the waste and abuse and necessity of each program. Same here and there are plenty of unnecessary items.
Connie and I served in Congress together and will work together on this with no problem. We just need other people to join us.
RJ - There are a number of current and former governors running for the GOP presidential nomination: Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Gary Johnson, and of course yourself. What do you believe makes you a better candidate than the other four Republicans running with similar executive experience?
Buddy Roemer - I think being governor is the best preparation for the office of president. (President Reagan told me that in the mid-80s when I was first thinking of running for governor of Louisiana. He also laughed and said, "Changing parties is required as well!") Executive experience building a team, hands-on budget experience, tax reform, jobs growth, the delegation of responsibility, and a 10 to 20 year vision; essential to being a great president.
Hard to compare among the governors, but some things are obvious:
First, Louisiana was in much tougher times compared to any other state in the late 80's with the highest unemployment rate at 12 plus percent in the country (we brought it down to six percent), the worst paid teachers in the US (we tested teachers and those who passed got a 30 percent raise, and started a school accountability and grading system), a budget 30 percent out of balance (and we balanced it the first year and every year thereafter without new taxes), Louisiana bonds rated worst among all states and Guam (and we got five bond upgrades, no state had ever done that), had the worst air and water toxicity in the US (we cleaned it up by closing tax loopholes for offenders, very effective, and an Environmental Scorecard for tax credit eligibility and with strong enforcement with penalties), and passed sweeping political integrity legislation still in force which eliminates the busing and paying of voters and the uninhibited acceptance without disclosure of special interest campaign funds.