Today, ATR president Grover Norquist released a statement endorsing Susan Stimpson in her bid to defeat Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell in House District 28.
"In signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Susan Stimpson has demonstrated that she understands the problems of hardworking taxpayers in Virginia. Her written commitment to Virginia voters helps differentiate her candidacy from that of her opponent, Speaker Bill Howell."
"Speaker Howell is a serial tax-hiker. Ever since he took the helm as the top ranking Republican in Richmond in 2003, Howell has been a major force behind every major tax hike in Virginia.
Under Democrat Governor Mark Warner in 2004, Bill Howell could have prevented a $615 million tax hike. Instead, he convinced Republicans who opposed the tax to take a hike, allowing the vote to proceed and eventually be signed into law."
As PolitiFact Virginia noted, "The bill survived a hostile House committee because Howell persuaded four conservative allies to skip the vote. "
Norquist continued, "The Speaker was even more involved in tax hikes in 2007 under Democrat Governor Tim Kaine. Howell sponsored legislation that raised taxes and fees by $500 million and authorized regional tax hikes amounting to more than $600 million annually. The Supreme Court struck down the regional tax hikes as unconstitutional.
Speaker Howell’s involvement in both of these tax hikes allowed Kaine and Warner to run for U.S. Senate campaigning as moderates who could work across the aisle with Republicans. Thanks largely to Bill Howell, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are now U.S. Senators.
Bill Howell wasn’t done. In 2013, Howell sponsored the largest tax hike in Virginia history. He raised the sales tax, property taxes, hotel taxes, hybrid vehicle taxes, and the gas tax all for special spending projects like light rail in Northern Virginia."
The 2013 vote on Speaker Howell's transportation tax hike, House Bill 2313, cost two powerful 20-year incumbents their seats that year. Americans for Tax Reform was proud to support Dave LaRock in particular, in his primary challenge to House Transportation Chair Joe May.
Norquist concluded, "Howell embodies the type of politician who raises taxes instead of reforming government. For more than a decade, he has caved to special interests by raising taxes instead of using a Republican majority to benefit Virginia taxpayers and small businesses with a pro-growth and limited government agenda.
That is why I am proud to endorse Susan Stimpson in her bid to defeat Bill Howell in Virginia House District 28."