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Paul Blair

In SC-07, Voters Should Know They Have Choices


Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, June 25th, 2012, 5:05 PM PERMALINK


In SC-07, Voters Should Know They Have Choices

In this Tuesday’s runoff in South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, voters have a clear choice. One option is Tom Rice, a moderate, tax hiking “Republican” who has a history of publically supporting job-killing tax increases. He presently refuses to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a promise to South Carolina taxpayers to never vote to increase their taxes.  Compare this to Andre Bauer, a conservative Republican who has a solid record of opposing tax increases. Not only has Bauer fought them as a State Senator, but he also used procedural rules to block them while presiding over the Senate as Lieutenant Governor.  By signing Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Bauer has made a promise to voters to never support tax increases.

When diving further into the facts ahead of Tuesday’s runoff in the Republican primary, the quite stark contrast for voters in the 7th Congressional District is clear. As a member of the Horry County Council, Tom Rice has an abysmal record of voting against the taxpayers interests. In his first budget as Chairman of the Horry County Council, Tom Rice voted in favor of legislation that increased property taxes on his constituents by .3 million dollars. And to add insult to injury, Rice has said in the past that he supports a federal gas tax hike of a dollar a gallon, which would burden the hard working families of the 7th district with even higher costs of living. Rice has even described himself as “more moderate” and says he is not ashamed of that characterization. Taking him for his word, it can only be expected that Rice would act as a moderate “Republican” in Washington, being among those who are willing to put tax hikes on the table in the foolish belief that spending cuts will materialize with them.

What the voters of the 7th district of South Carolina need is a Representative who will stand up for their interests in Washington and not sell them out as soon as the first talk of “compromise” (read: tax hikes) comes up. Given his past record and statements it is evident that Rice will not stand with the hard working South Carolinians of his district, but instead with special spending interests in Washington who consistently promote tax increases and burdensome regulations in the name of compromise. When heading to the polls tomorrow, voters should remember that they have a clear choice in this race:  a candidate who understands that Washington has a spending, and not a revenue problem (Bauer), and another who would burden future generations with more taxation and debt (Rice). 

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Contrary to Recent Claims, Rick Berg's Pledge is to Taxpayers


Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, June 25th, 2012, 4:43 PM PERMALINK


When a candidate for elective office signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, they are making a concrete promise to their constituents and the American people that they will oppose higher taxes. Contrary to a claim made in the Fargo Forum, that is exactly what Rick Berg did when he signed the Pledge earlier this year. He made a commitment to taxpayers of North Dakota to stand with them against tax hikes and special spending interests in Washington.

Pledge signers are not pledging anything to Americans for Tax Reform or Grover Norquist. While ATR promotes the Pledge, the Pledge is made to a candidate’s constituents, who are entitled to know where a candidate stands on the issues before they vote them into office.

The text of the Pledge is as follows:

I,__________________pledge to the taxpayers of the state of ________________, and to the American people that I will:

  • ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
  • TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

___________________________        ___________________________________

Signature                                                             Date

The 238 members of the House of Representatives and the 41 U.S. Senators who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge understand that the Pledge is a steadfast commitment to their constituents to oppose tax increases, making tax reform all the more likely. The power of the Pledge rests with voters nationwide who have chosen to value this written promise to oppose higher taxes. That power has grown as voters have become more and more interested in genuine tax reform that focuses on reining in Washington’s out of control spending problem.

Rick Berg’s opponent, Heidi Heitkamp has refused to make this commitment to the taxpayers, leaving the door open for tax hikes. This comes as no surprise since she supported Obamacare, which contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses.

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With Charlie Summers, Maine Taxpayers Are Real Winners in Tuesday's Senate Primary


Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, June 14th, 2012, 11:36 AM PERMALINK


Secretary of State Charlie Summers defeated five other Republican candidates last night to secure the GOP nomination his bid to fill retiring Senator Olympia Snowe’s seat this November. The true winners of the primary, however, were Maine taxpayers. Charlie Summers made a written commitment to them to oppose higher taxes when he signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge earlier this year.

Only one of the top three candidates refused to take that same Pledge: Rick Bennett. This fact was highlighted in debates and by the Portland Press Herald in the days leading up to the primary.

“A candidate who says ‘Yes, I signed the Pledge,’ has the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval as far as taxes are concerned,” said Maine’s Pledge Chair Mary Adams. “Signing the Pledge can make a difference in the outcome of elections because voters are seriously looking for candidates who won’t raise their taxes and who are willing to sign off on that fact, not just talk about it.”

Charlie Summers received nearly 30 percent of the vote to Bruce Poliquin’s 23 percent and Richard Bennett’s 18 percent. Both Poliquin and Summers signed the Pledge. After all of the votes were counted, Pledge signers received an overwhelming majority of the votes cast in Tuesday’s primary.

“I want to congratulate Charlie Summers on securing the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Maine,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Republican primary voters clearly took their displeasure with Washington’s tax and spend agenda to the ballot box and rewarded the candidates who took the Pledge to stand with them against Washington’s tax and spend agenda.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Bob Kerrey on Tax Increases: "Oh Yeah!"


Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, June 14th, 2012, 10:46 AM PERMALINK


In a recent interview with an independent watchdog group, Nebraska Watchdog, Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Bob Kerrey confirmed that he’s ready to raise taxes on Nebraska taxpayers. It’s a rare occasion that a politician gives a straightforward answer to a simple question but Kerrey made an exception to confirm what many people have known for a long time: Bob Kerry is ready to raise taxes.

Kerrey was asked a direct question from the Watchdog reporter: “Are you ready to vote for a tax increase?” Kerrey barely hesitated to give the following answer: “Oh yeah!”

This should not surprise anyone familiar with his record in the 103rd Congress as a U.S. Senator. Kerrey was the deciding vote in favor of President Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike, which Kerrey himself declared as the “biggest increase in the history of the country.”

Thanks to Bob Kerrey, small business’ top rate skyrocketed from 31 percent to 39.6 percent. With small businesses currently accounting for more than 30 percent of Nebraska’s economic activity, those crippling tax rates would deter economic growth and hurt Nebraskans trying to find jobs to pay for government overspending.

Although those rates were reduced after President Clinton left office, President Obama has promised to let the rates go back up at the end of this year. With Taxmageddon looming, the risk of giving Kerrey a seat at the negotiating table to be a deciding vote for further tax increases on families and small businesses should scare all Nebraska taxpayers.  

“Bob Kerrey is a serial tax hiker. As the deciding vote on the largest tax increase in U.S. history at the time, he’s now affirmed that on tax policy, he has not evolved,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “By promising to raise taxes again, Kerrey is letting Nebraskans know that he has no interest in getting serious about reining in government overspending or real tax reform.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Bill Owens Rehashes False Attacks Against Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, 12:23 PM PERMALINK


Democrat Bill Owens’ campaign recently made a feeble attempt to distract voters in his 2012 reelection bid by issuing misleading statements about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and U.S. job outsourcing. By attacking Republicans who have signed the Pledge, Owens’ efforts mirror his 2010 failed struggle to downplay the importance of promising taxpayers to oppose higher taxes, a promise Owens will not make.

In 2010, the non-partisan FactCheck.org rated the attacks against the Pledge as “blatantly false.” Bill Owens may have evolved on his 2010 attempted attack by subtly hinting that he won’t sign the Pledge because “he believes we should eliminate tax loopholes for companies who ship jobs overseas.” Unfortunately for Owens, the Associated Press rated his last attack as “one of the wildest claims of the 2010 campaign.

As FactCheck.org has noted: [The Pledge] leaves ample room for the elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this “protects” a particular provision is simply untrue. The overall goal of Pledge signers is to reduce the size of the government by focusing on spending alone.

This is a goal that Bill Owens fundamentally opposes, as is evident by his voting record. Having voted for Obamacare, which adds $1.76 trillion dollars to the federal deficit while increasing taxes by more than $500 billion over the next decade, Owens has never demonstrated an interest in standing with taxpayers and against Washington’s special spending interests.

“I applaud Kellie Greene and Matt Doheny for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Taxpayers in New York have clearly shown their displeasure with tax-and-spend policies coming out of Washington, policies that Bill Owens champions,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “New York taxpayers want real pro-growth solutions to get the economy going again and rein in the irresponsible and reckless spending in Washington,” contined Norquist.

Bill Owens’ latest line of attack is a rehashed and failed attempt to distort the truth about the Pledge, while taking the attention away from the fact that he is a tax-hiker who has no interest in reining in Washington’s out of control overspending problem.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Rick Bennett Leaves Door Open to Higher Taxes on Small Businesses


Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, June 7th, 2012, 12:55 PM PERMALINK


In his bid to secure the U.S. Senate GOP nomination, Rick Bennett has refused to give specifics about his economic plan. Bennett has left the door open for tax hikes on Maine taxpayers and small businesses.

On his campaign website, Bennett states, that in order to end the deficit and our national debt, “everything should be on the table.”  No word yet on a response from national Democrats regarding the fact that Bennett is borrowing a phrase that Nancy Pelosi and others used during the debt limit debate last year.

The phrase has been employed by Democrats over the past three years as an argument for tax hikes. What Nancy Pelosi and Rick Bennett have incorrectly identified as the problem with Washington its need to have taxpayers fork over more of their hard earned money.  Bennett’s 8 year absence from public office has left him unaware of a new political reality: voters expect Republican candidates to have an interest in reining in Washington’s over spending, not raising taxes.

The worst part about the fact that Bennett has left tax hikes on the table by refusing to sign the Pledge to Maine taxpayers is that on January 1, 2013, America faces the largest tax increases in the US history.

There are more than 147,000 small businesses in Maine that account for more than 38 percent of Maine’s economic activity. The average small business has $1.3 million in revenue, subjecting them to the top tax rate of 35 percent. In January, that rate is set to rise to 39.6 percent. Although Bennett would not take office until after January 1, the risk of giving him a seat at the negotiating table should leave Maine’s small businesses scared.

 “By refusing to sign the Pledge and leaving tax hikes on the table, Rick Bennett joins the ranks of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Given the importance of small businesses to Maine’s economy, Rick Bennett’s openness to higher taxes should cause voters who support Bennett to reconsider.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Abel Maldonado Voted For Largest State Tax Increase in U.S. History


Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, June 1st, 2012, 3:24 PM PERMALINK


Congressional candidate Abel Maldonado is no friend of taxpayers. Not only has Maldonado refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for his CA-24 race, he betrayed voters by violating his written commitment to them to “oppose any and all tax hikes” as a state legislator. In 2009, Maldonado cast the deciding vote for a $13 billion tax hike. Although the former State Senator and Lieutenant Governor may have the talking points of a Republican candidate, he is far from a supporter of limited government and pro-growth economic policies.

The 2009 tax hike was the largest tax increase of any state in history. It seemed unconscionable at the time that in the middle of the largest recession in modern history, Maldonado’s political ambitions took precedent over a promise he made to the taxpayers who elected him.

Under the facade of “compromise,” Maldonado stood with Sacramento special interests and against Californians. For that, Americans for Tax Reform awarded him the “Richard Rich Backstabber Award” for what he did to taxpayers.

 “Abel Maldonado is a tax hiking Republican and voters should pay close attention to his record,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “California’s number one employer is the government and the state budget has more than doubled in the last decade, both thanks to politicians like Maldonado.”

 “Because of Maldonado, joint filers and families in California had to pay $125 more in income taxes after the 2009 tax increases. Buying a new car cost buyers an additional $250. To license that same car, it cost an additional $125,” continued Norquist. “California has raised taxes and fees each and every time they run out of money. The problem that tax hikers like Abel Maldonado face is that as anti-growth policies and high tax rates force people and businesses out of the state, it becomes much more difficult for the government to pay the bills.

Not only has Abel Maldonado joined with liberals in the California-tax-and-spend-a-thon, but he played a key role in making it more expensive to live and work in the state. I urge voters who are thinking about voting for Maldonado on June 5 to reconsider.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Bob Turner Needs a History Lesson in "Grand Compromises"


Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012, 5:16 PM PERMALINK


When Americans for Tax Reform pointed out Bob Turner’s support of higher taxes, he responded by letting everyone know he thinks it is possible for “grand compromises” between Democrats and Republicans to include both spending cuts and tax hikes.

Recent statements by the Turner campaign leave everyone asking if he paid attention to the 1982 and 1990 budget “compromises.” The campaign released the following statement: “All he is saying is that it will take Democrats and Republicans working together to dig ourselves out of this hole, and at the end of the day, that will either happen or we will find ourselves bankrupt.”

Perhaps Bob Turner is not aware, but with a $15 trillion deficit, we are bankrupt. Even worse, he thinks that budget compromises between Republicans and Democrats work. He should examine the 1982 and 1990 budget “compromises.”

In 1982, President Reagan was promised three dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax increases. Whether Bob Turner remembers this or not, Congressional Democrats never delivered on their promise to cut spending.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush was promised two dollars in spending cuts for ever one dollar in tax increases. He fell for the bait and violated his Pledge to not raise taxes. After a $137 billion tax hike, spending actually rose by $22 billion.

If the 2011 debt-ceiling deal taught us anything it is that when Republicans hold the line on taxes, spending cuts occur. John Boehner understood this and it is a shame that Bob Turner does not.

The campaign went on to state, “Anyone who wouldn’t close some tax loophole in exchange for removing trillions of dollars of debt from the backs of our children doesn’t belong in public office.”

If Bob Turner actually read the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he would know that signers are free to eliminate deductions or credits if they are met dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates. The overall goal should be a reduction in the size of the federal government, a goal that Turner seems to oppose.

“Either Bob Turner didn’t read the Pledge or continues to be vague in an effort to hide from the fact that he supports higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “I’d happily volunteer to give Turner a brief lesson in the history of failed compromises that involve higher taxes. Only when tax hikes are off the table are spending cuts possible.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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U.S. Senate Candidate Bob Turner Calls for Tax Hikes


Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012, 5:54 PM PERMALINK


In an unfortunate twist to the New York U.S. Senate Republican primary, Bob Turner admits that he supports higher taxes. To date, fellow Republican primary candidate Wendy Long is the only candidate to make a written commitment to New York taxpayers that she will not raise taxes if elected in November.

In an interview with New York’s “Capital Tonight,” Bob Turner said that Republicans “can’t continue to uniformly oppose tax increases in order to solve the debt issue.” He went on to state that “there will certainly be compromises.” When pressed as to whether that meant tax increases, Turner responded by saying, “Whatever has to be done.”

It seems as if Representative Turner’s short tenure in Congress has changed him for the worse. Not only does he think that taxpayers can afford higher taxes, but that reaching across the aisle for this purpose is a noble cause.

Adding insult to injury, Turner went further in a one-on-one interview. He stated, “Let’s not dig in, put ourselves in a position where we can’t move forward.” Although President Obama’s campaign reelection team has yet to comment on the fact that Turner is borrowing their campaign slogan, it is clear that Turner has taken a page out of national Democrats’ campaign book. Recently, compromise has become a code word for tax increases. It seems that both the President and Bob Turner are interested in the same thing: higher taxes.

 “By refusing to take tax hikes off the table, Bob Turner demonstrates that he is out of touch with New York taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “No matter how much money he spends, Turner cannot hide from the fact that he supports higher taxes that are detrimental to New York small businesses and families.”

“Before next month’s primary, voters deserve to know specifically which tax hikes Bob Turner supports. All we can assume at this point is that he is being vague so that he can wait for cues from national Democrats about the minority party’s 2012 tax hike agenda.”

 “I applaud Wendy Long for her dedication to the taxpayers of New York,” continued Norquist. “By taking the Pledge, Ms. Long understands that politicians must focus on Washington’s out of control spending and not higher taxes. I only hope that Bob Turner will reconsider his own misguided higher tax agenda.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Jay Old Supports Higher Spending and Leaves the Door Open to Higher Taxes


Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, May 28th, 2012, 9:00 AM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform calls on Congressional candidate Jay Old to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for the GOP nomination in Texas’ 14th Congressional District.  After recent statements about federal spending, taxpayers in Texas deserve to know exactly where Jay Old stands on tax hikes.  

The Old campaign confirmed last week that he will not make the written commitment to oppose higher taxes to the people of Texas’ 14th District. Despite the campaign’s schedule, voters deserve answers about his spending agenda and tax hike plans.

Jay Old recently told the Associated Press that “Washington needs to do more to help the district’s ports stay competitive.” Finding ways to incentivize investment is certainly a worthy cause. It is concerning, however, to hear Old use this kind of rhetoric about Washington’s ability to pay the bills when he refuses to take a firm stand against higher taxes.

 “The voters in Texas should pay close attention to Jay Old’s promises,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “He promises to join Democrats in spending more of your hard-earned money if he gets to Washington. He refuses to promise that he will stand with taxpayers against the special interests and tax hikes in Washington. At this point, it’s only logical to assume that if he won’t sign the Pledge then he’s leaving the door open to pay for his higher spending agenda with higher taxes.”

To date, fellow Republican primary candidates Randy Weber, Michael Truncale, Felicia Harris, Mark Mansius, and Robert Gonzalez have all taken the Pledge. 

“I applaud candidates Weber, Truncale, Harris, Mansius, and Gonzalez for their dedication to the taxpayers of Texas,” stated Norquist. “Taxpayers deserve to know that the politicians they elect to office will stand on their side against the special interests and tax hikes in Washington. I urge Jay Old to join with these candidates in promising never to raise taxes on the voters of Texas.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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