In the hotly contested GOP primary in ME-02, former State Sen. Kevin Raye is attempting to deflect attention away from his decision to leave the door open to higher taxes by lying about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
His arguments against the Pledge come straight out of the DCCC playbook. To claim the Pledge prevents tax reform or the elimination of any particular deduction and/or credit is simply false. ATR President Grover Norquist created the Pledge in 1985 to help pass the 1986 Tax Reform Act, the most comprehensive tax reform legislation to date.
The Pledge prevents politicians from raising taxes by eliminating this-or-that tax preference by itself. Rather, the Pledge tells politicians that such base broadening is acceptable only in the context of tax reform—broaden the base, lower the rates, and don’t raise the net tax burden in the aggregate on American families and employers. A tax preference eliminated today is a tax preference not available for tax reform tomorrow.
Claims similar to Raye’s have been debunked by Factcheck.org and Politifact in the past.
More important, it [Taxpayer Protection Pledge] does not rule out an overhaul of the tax code. Signers agree to oppose any "net" reduction of deductions or credits "unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
Factcheck.org continued on with their examination of the Pledge by agreeing with ATR that any attempt to say the Pledge “protects” any deduction or credit is untrue:
That [Pledge] leaves ample room for elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this "protects" any particular provision of the tax code is simply untrue.
Politifact also agreed with Factcheck.org saying:
The taxpayer pledge doesn’t prevent a signer from opposing any tax break as long as he or she finds a way to offset the resulting increase in taxes.
Any attempt by Raye to use Sen. Rand Paul against the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is disproved by a simple Google search. Politico highlighted a number of pro-Pledge comments made by Sen. Paul in 2012:
I’m a huge fan of the pledge. And I think it does hold people’s feet to the fire and they’ve essentially signed their signature and said they’re not going to raise taxes so if they go back on their word, I think they’ll suffer the repercussions in their next election.
In ME-02, Bruce Poliquin is the only candidate to make a written promise to Maine taxpayers to oppose higher taxes. Poliquin understands the solution to our current economic malaise is to hold the line on taxes, grow the economy, and cut government spending.