Alabama Gov. Bentley Breaks “No New Taxes” Promise, Pushes for Higher Taxes

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Posted by Will Upton on Monday, February 23rd, 2015, 5:05 PM PERMALINK

Governor Robert Bentley has made it clear that he intends to break his WRITTEN pledge to voters to oppose and veto “any and all efforts to increase taxes.”  Shortly after his re-election this past November, Gov. Bentley began making a push to increase taxes. Americans for Tax Reform pushed back, noting:

According to the Cotton State’s governor, eliminating tax deductions is not the same as raising taxes.

"I am not for raising taxes and this actually would not be raising taxes," Bentley said. "It would be taking away some deductions. That is certainly one of the things we'll be looking at."

Bentley is wrong. By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, the governor has committed to “oppos[ing] changes in tax deductions or credits that increase the net tax burden on Americans.” 

Enacting legislation that burdens taxpayers with higher taxes and fees to fuel exorbitant state spending, goes against his written promise to the people of Alabama to "oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes." Americans for Tax Reform encourages Gov. Bentley to pursue revenue neutral, pro-growth tax reform and enact spending restraint instead of raising taxes on Alabama families.

Now Gov. Bentley is floating a plan which would raise taxes in Alabama by roughly $700 million, according to Yellowhammer News, despite having previously opposed tax increases:

“When you hurt businesses and you tax businesses, you’re going to lose jobs and we need to be creating jobs,” he said. He went a step further and signed Americans for Tax Reform’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” committing himself in writing to opposing all tax increases. During his most recent campaign, Gov. Bentley’s re-election ads also prominently displayed the words “No New Taxes.” 

That’s right. Despite having won two gubernatorial races by campaigning against higher taxes, featuring his promise to not raise taxes on his website, and making a written promise to the people of Alabama to not raise their taxes, Gov. Bentley is now pushing for just that. Higher taxes.

The American people have historically reacted poorly to politicians who promise not to raise taxes and then do. Broken promises on taxes cost George H.W. Bush a second term as President and Tom Corbett a second term as Governor of Pennsylvania. When you make a promise, people expect you to keep it. This might explain why Gov. Bentley waiting to announce his intention to break his promise against higher taxes until after he won re-election. 

The Alabama Republican Party has already responded to Gov. Bentley’s plan, passing a resolution in opposition to any proposed tax hikes. Yellowhammer News reported that the resolution read:

“Alabama is still in a state of recovery from the recent and extended recession that has gripped this state and the entire nation for the past several years,” the resolution said. “Be it therefore resolved that we, the members of the Alabama Republican Party State Executive Committee call upon Governor Bentley and legislative leaders to consider options other than an increased tax burden on Alabama citizens as a solution to the state’s fiscal problems.” 

Between 2000 and 2009, state spending in Alabama has exceeded the rate of inflation in population growth by just over $20 billion. Gov. Bentley should take the lead and work with legislative leadership to pursue reductions in state spending and truly pro-growth tax reform like that enacted in North Carolina and Wisconsin. 

Help Americans for Tax Reform stop Gov. Bentley’s $700 million tax hike. Call Gov. Bentley’s office at (334) 242-7100 or click here to email and tell him stand by his promise to Alabama taxpayers to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.

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