Paul Blair

Minnesota Republican Jeff Johnson’s ‘Read My Lips’ Problem on Taxes

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Posted by Paul Blair, Jorge Marin on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014, 3:29 PM PERMALINK


Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson seems to think that run-of-the-mill politician promises are enough to prove his bona fides for November’s election. In his bid to secure the Republican nomination he has refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to Minnesota voters. The Hennepin County Commissioner stated, “I’ve never voted for a tax increase… As governor, my philosophy will not change.”

Here lies the “Read My Lips” problem. He isn’t the first person claiming to reject higher taxes while refusing to put it in writing for voters. Take Virginia’s disgraced ex-governor Bob McDonnell. When he ran for governor in 2009, he said, “I’ve been a firm believer that I’m gonna tell you exactly what I think… that I’m going to stick to my word.” He went on to say, “I have no plans to raise taxes” after refusing to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Washington Times questioned this approach. He went on to make a tax deal with Democrats and ended up being taken to the cleaners. He signed the largest tax increase in Virginia history into law during his final year in office.

Should voters really be concerned about Mr. Johnson though? In a recent interview with the Minnesota Post Johnson claimed that “[He] do[es] believe that we need to broaden the sales tax base and lower the sales tax rate.” Will it be revenue neutral? Or will taxpayers get sacked? Taking Jeff Johnson at his word isn’t something voters are likely going to do in this political environment. He should be careful that this does not become his “Read my lips moment.” It would be easier to believe that his reforms would be revenue neutral if he allowed taxpayers to have it in writing.

Sadly, it seems Mr. Johnson is unacquainted with the political realities of tax hikes.

And the father of all politicians who thought they could play fast and loose with their campaign promises, George Bush Sr. Not even a president is exempt from keeping his word. Though he was Reagan’s chosen successor, as well as the president who oversaw the downfall of the Soviet Union and the president during a popular war, it was his tax policy which doomed him. After foolishly signing on to a deal granting congressional Democrats their tax hikes in exchange for spending cuts which never materialized, Bush lost reelection to the charismatic Bill Clinton.

There is a pattern of failure for politicians who fail to act as responsible stewards of the taxpayers. Mr. Johnson should veer away from this tax tendency and pledge his support for Minnesota’s taxpayers. This will allow him to demonstrate his willingness to be held accountable for his actions.

Call Jeff Johnson at 763-703-5154 and tell him to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today.

Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack

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Kurt Zellers: The Only Republican Gov Candidate in Minnesota Willing to Take Tax Hikes off Table


Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 4:00 PM PERMALINK


In the race to face off against Democrat Governor Mark Dayton in Minnesota, there is only one Republican candidate willing to take tax hikes off the table: former speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Zellers. By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Zellers and his running mate Dean Simpson have made personal written commitments to Minnesota voters to oppose tax hikes. Their opponents have refused to make that same promise. 

Here is what the other Republicans in the race had to say: 

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, "I've never voted for a tax increase…As governor, my philosophy will not change."

If that's true, he should put it in writing. Obama made the same verbal commitment as a candidate in 2008, only to violate it a month after being inaugurated. Johnson's refusal to do so should leave voters asking, why not? A 2011 study by Stanford’s Michael Tomz and Berkeley’s Robert Van Houweling may provide the answer. They found that voters found people who broke the pledge to be “dishonest, immoral … spineless.” That is, even the putative Democrats in the survey saw breaking the pledge as a “character issue.” Might his openness to higher tax rates be the reason he won't sign the Pledge? 


Credit: How Money Walks 

Hennepin County, where Johnson is an elected Commissioner, has last more net annual adjusted gross income (AGI) than any other county in the state. Between 1992 and 2011, the county lost $5.82 billion in AGI. As a resident and an elected official from this part of the state, it's unfortunate that he isn't willing to take tax hikes off the table as a way to make it clear that Minnesota is open for business. 

Former state Representative Marty Seifert: "Voters tend to be cynical of pledges like this." That's ironic because when he ran for governor in 2010, Seifert signed the Pledge. Here's what his campaign had to say at the time:

"For too long, politicians from both parties have said one thing on the campaign trail and acted differently once in office. Republicans lost their way in Washington, DC, and joined the Democrats in out-of-control spending. Republicans then got their just reward: defeat at the polls. Democrats now control all levers of government in Washington and in both the House and Senate in Minnesota. 

Marty Seifert signed the pledge that he will not raise taxes as governor to send an unmistakable message: that the state government spending binge must end and we Republicans must not be accomplices to increasing the already-too-high tax burden on Minnesota families and employers."

I couldn't have said it better. And voters aren't cynical of a politician putting their opposition to higher taxes in writing. They're cynical of politicians who flip-flop, which is clearly what has happened in the case of Marty Seifert, who has raised taxes before. He supported the "health impact fee" which amounted to a massive $380 million cigarette tax increase back in 2005. 

Scott Honour's campaign: "Typical politicians need to sign pledges because the public has no faith in them." The public has no faith in politicians because they say one thing and do another. The Pledge is a powerful tool in preventing that from happening. 

The primary is August 12. Only one gubernatorial candidate has made a written commitment to oppose higher taxes, ensuring that there might be some check on the runaway spending that has taken root in Saint Paul. That candidate is Kurt Zellers. 

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Kurt Zellers and Dean Simpson Sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 12:30 PM PERMALINK


Former speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Zellers has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for the Republican nomination as Governor of Minnesota. His running mate, former state Representative Dean Simpson, has also signed the Pledge. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.

Americans for Tax Reform offers the Pledge to all candidates for state and federal office. Fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge. The Zellers/Simpson ticket is the first to sign the Pledge in their bid to secure the Republican nomination and defeat incumbent Governor Mark Dayton.

The Zellers campaign just released an ad highlighting his record of fighting against higher taxes and his personal written commitment to continue to do it as governor. 

 

“I want to congratulate Kurt Zellers and Dean Simpson for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Minnesotans deserve better than tax-and-spend policies that fall hard on the backs of hardworking families and small businesses. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and incentivize more economic growth,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Zellers and Simpson have demonstrated that they understand the problems of hard-working taxpayers in Minnesota.”

“Democrat Mark Dayton raised taxes by more than $2 billion just one year ago. Two years before that he shut the government down over his demand that the legislature raise taxes.  With Speaker Zellers presiding over the House during that time, he stopped Dayton from getting his way.”

"I challenge all candidates and their running mates in the Minnesota gubernatorial race to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist continued. 

To view a PDF copy of the press release, click here. 

Photo Credit: 
Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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New Poll: Internet Sales Tax Widely Unpopular in Virginia; Will Gas Tax Go Up?

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Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, July 11th, 2014, 3:04 PM PERMALINK


A new poll released by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the R Street Institute found that Virginia voters overwhelmingly oppose federal legislation that would expand state sales taxes to the Internet. The law that some large retailers are pushing alongside many state governments is called the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) and would require businesses without a physical presence in a state to enforce state sales tax laws everywhere in the nation that they do business. 

In Virginia, 59% of poll respondents said that they oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act, compared to 33% of voters who said they favor it. Even self-identified liberals oppose the law by a 47 to 46 point margin. Republicans oppose the bill 67% to 28% and Independents oppose it 56% to 36%. Voters are even more opposed to the concept of empowering out of state retailers to collect taxes on Virginia online consumers, by a 68% to 26% margin. 

The Marketplace Fairness Act has little chance of passing Congress this year but that hasn't stopped some from pushing for the bill, in an effort to generate revenue for the state. The 2013 transportation package, which amounted to a $5.9 billion tax increase on Virginians included a provision that counted on passage of MFA at the federal level, as a way of generating money for state coffers. If and when MFA fails to pass by year's end, the state gas tax will automatically increase from 3.5% to 5.1%, amounting to a $1.2 billion tax hike over 5 years. 

Conservative activists would be wise to focus on repealing this provision of House Bill 2313 (the transportation package) instead of urging members of Congress like Representative Bob Goodlatte to support MFA. 

"This most recent poll confirms what many of us have been saying for more than a year; subjecting small businesses and online consumers to billions of dollars in higher taxes and compliance costs is a widely unpopular idea, especially in Virginia," said ATR state affairs manager Paul Blair. 

"Last year's transportation package included a trigger to grab more money from consumers if the Marketplace Fairness Act failed and now state lawmakers have until the end of the year to figure out how to stop the gas tax from going up. Without legislative action in Richmond, motorists throughout the commonwealth will all see even higher gas prices at the beginning of next year. 

If I was a Republican running for re-election in next year's legislative races and had previously supported the transportation package and online tax schemes like MFA, I'd be worried about a primary challenge from the right."

To learn more about the Marketplace Fairness Act and our fight against taxing the internet, visit http://www.digitalliberty.net/.

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Virginia Experiences Worst Economic Recovery of any State in Region Since End of Great Recession

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Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014, 3:02 PM PERMALINK


According to recent numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Virginia's recovery from the Great Recession has been the worst of any state in the region. Between 2010-2013, the commonwealth's economy grew at a paltry 2 percent. The national economy grew by 6.1 percent over the same time. Other states in the Mid-Atlantic all experienced greater growth during that time. Maryland's GDP growth was 2.9 percent, North Carolina 5.1 percent, West Virginia 6.2 percent, Kentucky 4 percent, and Tennessee 7 percent. 

This analysis does not take into consideration that the U.S. economy shrank by 2.9 percent during 2014's first quarter, the largest contraction since 2009. 


 (Picture credit: Washington Examiner

Virginia politicians have long prided themselves on being from a state ranked as one of the best for doing business by CNBC's annual rankings. It was ranked number one in three of the eight years since CNBC started the list, in 2007, 2009, and 2011. In 2014, that ranking fell to number 8, due largely in part to budget constraints in Washington. The state's reliance on federal expenditures, particularly military outlays in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia have been somewhat of a distraction from the need to diversify the state's economy with more private investments and business.

 A $5.9 billion tax increase signed into law last year certainly didn't help with any sort of recovery either. Despite the tax increase, the state experienced a $300 million shortfall in state revenue collections for 2013.  And ironically, while the tax increase was supposed to go to new construction projects, between 2012 and 2013, construction actually declined by .09 percent as a percentage of real GDP in the state last year. Construction, utilities, and mining all declined over that time.

North Carolina, by contrast jumped from 13th to 5th in CNBC's rankings thanks to a historic tax reform package signed into law by Republican Governor Pat McCrory. While Virginia politicians were raising taxes, North Carolina Republicans were cutting them. Some of the results speak for themselves. 

Going forward, will Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe acknowledge that higher taxes and more spending don't contribute much to any sort of economic recovery? If this year's legislative session in Richmond was any indication, the answer to that question is no. 

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New Jersey Democrats Propose Massive $1.6 Billion in Annual Tax Hikes

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, 4:52 PM PERMALINK


Democrat Senate President Stephen Sweeny (D-Glaucester) along with Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) and other New Jersey Senate Democrats just announced an income tax and business tax hike to address the state's $807 million budget deficit. Initial estimates suggest the plan will raise $1.6 billion in revenue, which would fund next year's pension payment. It wouldn't go to transportation, education, or public safety. 

The proposal raises taxes on those earning more than $500,000 and adds a 15 percent business tax surcharge. These massive tax hikes were announced on the same day that one of New Jersey's public employee pensions voted to sue over Governor Chris Christie's plan to defer a $900 million pension payment. 

Governor Christie has repeatedly called for additional reforms to deal with the ballooning costs of public employee pension, health benefits, and debt service that are engulfing the budget. In fact, 94 percent of the year-over-year growth from the current budget to the Governor's proposed budget for next year is going to the growth in these things, not education, transportation, or anything else. New Jersey Democrats clearly don't understand that curbing spending with legitimate long-term reforms is the only real solution to a $54 billion underfunded pension crisis. 

New Jersey is the next-to-last worst place in the nation to do business. According to the Tax Foundation, it has the highest property taxes in the nation, 9th highest corporate tax, 6th highest income tax, and 4th highest sales tax. The Democrat plan would raise the top income tax rate from 8.97% to 10.75%. Individuals making between $500,000-$1 million would pay 10.25%, up from 8.97%. Only two states impose higher state income taxes: Hawaii at 11% and California at 13.3%. 

Clearly Democrats have no interest in promoting economic growth. Instead of reforming the public pensions, they would rather run even more businesses and taxpayers out of the state. Between 1992-2011, New Jersey lost $22.3 billion in annual adjusted gross income to states like Florida, which does not tax income. It also lost more than 429,000 residents. The Democrat plan flies in the face of what neighboring New York (where the governor is a Democrat) was able to accomplish this year: tax cuts. Next year, New York is even poised to move ahead of New Jersey, passing along to them the dead last ranking for a business competitiveness climate. 

Governor Chris Christie is the only thing standing in the way of the Democrat plan to turn New Jersey into Detroit. He recently said, "I won't raise taxes on the people of New Jersey to pay for a Cadillac pension system." His proposal would pay $696 million in pension payments out of a scheduled $1.6 billion, and another $681 million next year. 

Republicans have an alternative to the Democrat tax hike, which can be read here. It eliminates the proposed tax hikes and prioritizes state spending. Democrats better come up with something else or they may forever seal their fate as clueless in the fight to stop taxpayers and their businesses from fleeing to more friendly states. 

Photo Credit: 
NJ Monthly

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ATR Opposes New Vapor Tax in North Carolina

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Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, May 23rd, 2014, 4:24 PM PERMALINK


As the summer session of the North Carolina legislature heats up, an omnibus tax bill is up for consideration that makes a few tax adjustments in the year following the historic tax reform package signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory

The House recently passed H.B. 1050,which among other things includes a 5-cent per milliliter tax increase on e-cigarettes and vapor products, which contain liquid nicotine. The companion bill is S.B. 763 and both bills await consideration in the Senate. 

Vapor products and e-cigarettes are already taxed at a sales tax rate of between 4.75 and 8.25 percent. Imposing an additional tax on these products will hurt North Carolina vapor companies and small businesses struggling to make ends meet. This is especially true of convenience stores, which have begun to rely on these products more heavily to replace revenue lost from declining sales with tobacco products.

While the overall bill may be revenue neutral, imposing additional taxes on these innovative products will chase business out of the state and onto the Internet, which is already a significant market for e-cigarette and vapor products.

Taking aim at e-cigarettes also works at cross-purposes with efforts to cut down on the harm associated with smoking. A number of studies have shown that electronic cigarettes stand to improve health and prevent disease. By choosing to “vape” e-cigarettes instead of smoking traditional tobacco, consumers get their nicotine fix without the combustion and smoke, which are responsible for many of the negative health effects of tobacco cigarettes.

A new study funded by the charity Cancer Research UK published in the journal Addiction found that smokers trying to quit are 60 percent more likely to report success with e-cigarettes than with any other method. With e-cigarettes, the free market has provided a solution to a problem that social engineers have not been able to address through stiff government regulations. ​

Last year, the legislature passed the most significant tax reform package of any state in years. It brought tax relief to millions while reversing decades of taxes going in one direction: up. Though these two companion bills are not violations of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, they do take a step in the wrong direction.

Other states, including Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Vermont have all rejected efforts this year to raise taxes on e-cigarettes and vapor products. That’s because of the harmful impact on small businesses and concerns about public health. For these reasons, the vapor tax portions of HB 1050 and SB 763 should be stripped from the bills and considered individually, so that all sides can have an opportunity to debate the merits of the proposal.

Click here to read the full letter from ATR president Grover Norquist

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Governor John Kasich's Tax Shifting Scheme

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014, 4:52 PM PERMALINK


Now that Ohio primary season is over, legislators are free to begin work on the hot button issue of the 2014 legislative session: tax reform. Governor John Kasich's proposal defies the basic tenants of conservative tax reform. It redistributes the tax burden on the backs of low-income Ohioans while taking aim at the energy industry, which is creating thousands of jobs in eastern Ohio. 

The governor's proposal certainly starts off on the right foot. By further reducing the income tax by 8.5 percent and raising the personal exemption, taxpayers would get to keep more than $2.6 billion of their hard-earned income over the next three years. Unfortunately, Kasich's complete proposal engages in tax shifting that raises taxes on tobacco, energy, and small businesses.

As if President Obama's war on energy producers wasn't enough, Governor Kasich's first tax increase targets Ohio oil and gas with higher frack taxes. The industry supports thousands of jobs in Ohio, both directly and indirectly. The shale energy revolution will generate billions of dollars in economic activity, thousands more jobs, and in turn more income tax and sales tax revenue for the state without higher tax rates.

To suggest as OSU professor Mark Partridge did that a $847 million tax hike would be "inconsequential" defies common sense and logic. The governor's proposed severance tax would absolutely discourage investment in this sector of the economy.

Gov. Kasich also goes after low-income consumers with a proposed 60-cent increase in the cigarette tax. As a percentage of income, low-income individuals spend seven times more on cigarettes than wealthy ones. That¹s why tobacco taxes are extremely regressive, disproportionately burdening the poorest individuals the most. 

Even more, raising cigarette taxes does not necessarily mean more revenue for the state. In May of 2012 when Illinois raised the cigarette tax by $1-per-pack, the tax delivered $138 million less than expected. Before that, of the 57 tobacco tax increases enacted by states between 2003 and 2008, only 16 met initial revenue projections.

There's also a negative impact on small businesses. They often lose tens of thousands of dollars as a direct result as consumers purchasing tobacco across state lines. Convenience stores, for example, rely on cigarettes and other tobacco products for more than 40 percent of all store revenue. To avoid higher tobacco taxes, consumers have constantly demonstrated that they are willing to purchase the products in less expensive markets.

Anti-smoking activists and public health advocates should be concerned about the next target of Gov. Kasich's tax hikes: e-cigarettes and vapor products. His proposal would raise taxes by more than 700 percent on these products. This would cripple brick and mortar vapor shops and do irreparable damage to small businesses struggling to make ends meet.

Taking aim at e-cigarettes with higher taxes works against efforts to reduce the harm associated with smoking. A number of studies have shown that electronic cigarettes can improve health and prevent disease. By choosing to "vape" e-cigarettes, consumers get their nicotine fix without the combustion and smoke, which are responsible for many of the negative health effects of tobacco cigarettes.

Higher taxes on innovative products that reduce smoking and people¹s dependence on tobacco are misguided and will impede proven harm reduction methods. That is probably why bills to raise taxes on these products have stalled in the legislature.

Between 1992-2011, Ohio lost more than 390,000 people and $19.6 billion in annual adjusted gross income to business and tax friendly states like Florida, Tennessee, and Texas, all states that do not tax income. That's why lowering and eventually eliminating the income tax is a goal that governors and legislatures nationwide should work towards. There are, however, ways to accomplish this without needlessly targeting innovative products and industries with higher taxes, especially when higher taxes on those things may not generate more revenue for state coffers.

There are a number of states getting tax reform right, North Carolina and Kansas most recently. Governor Kasich's proposal does not simplify the tax code - the jungle of Ohio¹s chaotic municipal income tax system remains intact - it instead engages in little more than tax shifting. 

Tax reform in Ohio should include a reduction of the number of income tax brackets - there are currently nine - and address the out of control and burdensome municipal income tax regime. It absolutely should not pick winners and losers. Pro-growth tax reform takes a willingness to make tough choices, which Governor Kasich's proposals fail to do.

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ATR Opposes 75 Percent Tax On E-Cigarettes in New Jersey

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014, 6:00 AM PERMALINK


The New Jersey state Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee recently passed a bill imposing a massive 75 percent tax on e-cigarettes sold in the state. The bill mirrors a proposal put forth by Governor Christie earlier this year, which we wrote about here. ATR opposes Senate Bill 1867 and all efforts to raise taxes in New Jersey. 

At the end of April, state officials announced that the New Jersey budget shortfall grew to $807 million. Though that staggering number can be directly attributed to the higher taxes that took effect with last year's fiscal cliff deal, New Jersey's primary driver of long term budgetary issues is its addiction to overspending. This can only be addressed with reforms that deal with the costs of public employee pensions, health benefits, and debt service costs which comprise more than 94 percent of year-over-year budget growth. The state's pension system alone is $54 billion underfunded - an issue Governor Christie has called for additional reforms to address.

Raising taxes is a harmful distraction from these issues. Tax hikes on innovative products, like e-cigarettes, that save lives is a step in the wrong direction. This bill will chase business and revenue out of the state and onto the Internet, which is already a significant market for e-cigarette and vapor products. Small businesses, like convenience stores, stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, which is particularly troubling in a time of tepid economic growth.

We urge the Senate Budget Committee to reject this bill and begin to face the facts on the pension, health benefits, and debt service cost crisis. Tax hikes won't make these issues go away. 

Our letter to the Senate Finance Committee can be read here. 

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Nevada State Senate Candidate Becky Harris Supports Higher Taxes


Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, May 12th, 2014, 3:01 PM PERMALINK


In her bid to secure the Republican nomination for Nevada's 9th state Senate district, Becky Harris refuses to take higher taxes off the table by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. At a public forum, Nevada voters asked her to explain her position and her answers were telling... 

Question: "Economics and taxes are very important to me. Have you signed the No Tax Pledge and if not, why?"

Becky Harris: "That's a great question! I have not signed the No Tax Pledge and I'm not going to sign the No Tax Pledge because I'm interested in looking at comprehensive tax reform." 

First off, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge does not require opposition to revenue neutral tax reform; any tax increase must simply be tied to an offsetting tax cut of at least equal size. That information is available publicly here and is sent with a copy of the Pledge to every candidate for state and federal office. FactCheck.org has debunked this myth, summarizing that the pledge "explicitly allows elimination of any specific tax deduction or credit if matched dollar-for-dollar by an overall cut in rates." 

But Becky didn't stop there. 

Becky Harris: "I think it's a little disingenuous to sign a No New Tax Pledge… signing the Pledge kind of limits maneuverability and ability to look at a variety of different options that might be on the table."

For someone who takes pride in being a small business owner, this is concerning. Clearly Becky knows exactly what her plans are if she wins: raise the overall tax burden on hardworking Nevada taxpayers and small businesses. The only thing disingenuous in this race is Becky Harris's claim that the Pledge gets in the way of tax reform. The reality is that it gets in the way of her plan to grow government and raise taxes. 

That's precisely why nearly every US House and Senate Republican has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, including Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, two of the most powerful budget and tax-writing Republicans in Washington. Senator Dean Heller, Representative Mark Amodei, and Representative Joe Heck are also signers of the federal Pledge. The only people who use the "Pledge gets in the way of tax reform" line are people who admittedly want to raise taxes. 

The Pledge doesn't get in the way of tax reform at the state level either. The most recent state to pass significant tax reform was North Carolina. The Governor, who is a Pledge signer, signed a historic tax reform package into law last summer, which cut the personal income tax, reduced the corporate income tax, and eliminated a number of credits and deductions along the way. The plan was Pledge-compliant, supported by ATR, and reduced the tax burden on taxpayers and small businesses in The Tar Heel State. 

In her bid to fill the seat currently held by Democrat Justin Jones, Harris faces Republican Vick Gill, who has made a personal written commitment to oppose higher taxes by signing the Pledge. 

"I applaud Vick Gill for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Gill has made the bold decision to put his anti-tax rhetoric in writing and voters know exactly where he stands on taxes now," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. 

"The Pledge clearly and unambiguously endorses revenue-neutral tax reform and equally prohibits a net tax increase. To suggest otherwise reveals that your true motives include increasing the overall tax burden on Nevada taxpayers and small businesses. Becky Harris's willingness to raise taxes should concern voters in the 9th District. " continued Norquist. 

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