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  • Gov. Bobby Jindal will kick off the fifth annual RedState Gathering in New Orleans. The gathering for grassroots conservatives will be held Aug. 2-3 at the Westin New Orleans at Canal Place. Jindal spoke at last year's RedState Gathering, which was held at the height of the 2012 presidential campaign. At the time, RedState Editor Erick Erickson called Jindal "one of the most effective surrogates on the campaign trail in the primary for Rick Perry and now in the general for Mitt Romney."

  • Flip-flop on smokes: In announcing Gov. Bobby Jindal's tax plan, which would make Louisiana's sales tax rates the highest in the nation, his office sent out a notice saying, "As part of achieving simplification of Louisiana's tax structure on a revenue-neutral basis, Louisiana's excise tax rate on cigarettes ($0.36) would rise to match the Texas rate ($1.41). ... Additionally, the current variable rate for other tobacco products would rise to match the Arkansas rate of 68 percent of manufacturer's price." Tax watchers will remember Jindal's June 2011 veto of the renewal of an expiring 4-cent-per-pack cigarette tax, which he presented as a matter of tax-purity principle, saying, "I have made a commitment to the taxpayers of Louisiana to oppose all attempts to raise taxes." But that was then ...

  • Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts and Councilman-at-large Elton Lagasse sent an open letter to state representatives last week, asking them to call off the special election in May that would have voters (again) determine the fate of the now-suspended tolls on the Crescent City Connection. Roberts and Lagasse also announced the council would act on a formal resolution requesting the state Legislature to "save the cost of the election which would be incurred by the State of Louisiana." It was a major throwing-in-of-the-towel for some area politicos who had argued that tolls were vital to keeping services on the bridge. — Kevin Allman

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