Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, today, released commentary from Grover Norquist on why any tax hike proposal should be a non-starter for Grand Canyon State taxpayers. 

The text of Norquist’s statement is as follows:




Tax hike akin to ‘blaming the victim’

Grover Norquist


Goldwater Institute
March 23, 2009

It is well documented that government spending in Arizona has grown more rapidly than the population and inflation for quite some time.

Now the politicians blame you for failing to send in enough money to pay for their promises. They say there is a shortfall. They spend too much and this is a shortfall, a failure, on the part of working men and women in Arizona. It would be funny if it were not rude and insulting and plagiarized from the recent antics of politicians in Michigan and California and other failed states.

This is the new strategy of those who prefer to vote for a living rather than work for a living. Spend so much that the State or City or County faces bankruptcy and then blame the victims (i.e. the taxpayers). Tell them they are greedy if they want to keep money they earned. Tell them you are virtuous for making promises you cannot keep, and promising the wealth, income and time of others to pay your debts.

If the government is spending too much of the earnings of Arizonans, there are two solutions. First, spend less of the taxpayers’ money. Two, enact pro-growth economic policies so that Arizonans earn more money, create more jobs and the burden of present spending is lessened by being shared by more workers with higher incomes.

Raising taxes does not reduce spending. Every dollar promised in higher taxes becomes an excuse for not reducing spending. Raising taxes won’t create more jobs and taxpayers in Arizona. Raising taxes creates more jobs and taxpayers in Nevada and Texas. Higher taxes mitigate economic growth. Call your relatives in Michigan and Zimbabwe and ask how ever higher taxes are helping on the jobs and earnings front.

Further evidence that government, not lack of revenue, is the problem is the fact that from January 2008 to January 2009 Arizona saw private sector jobs shrink by more than 7 percent, or 161,200 jobs. Meanwhile, Arizona’s state government employment fell a mere 500, a drop of only a little over one-half of one percent. Total government employment actually rose with state and local education-related employment rising by 5,100, a 2.6 percent increase.

Reducing state and local government overspending is long overdue. Reducing tax and regulatory burdens that kill jobs and reduce incomes in Arizona is long overdue. Raising taxes doesn’t fix anything. It makes things worse.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.