ATR President Grover Norquist today sent the following letter to Senators Chambliss, Coburn, and Crapo:


Thank you for clarifying to me in a letter of February 17, 2011 the following regarding your participation in any potential budget deal:

“If and when there is a legislative proposal to be presented to Congress and the American people, we look forward to again working with you and all interested parties to support a proposal where any increase in [tax] revenue generation will be the result of the pro-growth effects of lower individual and corporate tax rates for all Americans.”

This is very encouraging news from you.

It means that you will fulfill the Taxpayer Protection Pledge you made to your constituents and the American people to oppose and vote against legislated net income tax increases.

It means that you, like the American people, welcome tax revenues resulting from faster economic growth while opposing legislated net tax increases.  Since the Joint Committee on Taxation does not account for economic growth in their scoring, “legislated tax increases” mean (by definition) those tax hikes scored as such by the JCT.

It means that taxpayers can count on your avoiding becoming the third case study on how not to do budget agreements.  Back in 1982, President Reagan was promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.  The tax hikes happened—and spending went up.  In 1990, President George H.W. Bush was promised $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.  The tax hikes happened—and spending came in above the CBO pre-deal baseline.  In these bipartisan deals, Washington spenders are actually unharmed, and taxpayers are left holding the bag.  This cannot be allowed to happen again.

It means you recognize that Washington has an over-spending problem, not an under-taxing problem.  According to CBO, even if no scheduled tax hikes take effect over the next decade, tax revenues will rise to 18.2 percent of GDP—just slightly above the historical average.  Meanwhile, President Obama’s FY 2012 budget calls for permanent spending levels of 22-24 percent of GDP—well above the historical average of 21 percent.  Spending is out of control, whereas taxes are coming in at historical levels.  Spending, not taxes, should be the exclusive target of Congress.  Congress will spend all the new tax hike money, will fail to restrain spending, and the only winners will be the bureaucrats, lobbyists, and professional rent-seekers of Washington, DC.

Finally, it means that you have clearly heard the message voters sent in November: cut government spending.  We do not have a “debt crisis” or a “budget crisis”—we have a spending crisis in Washington.

I look forward to continuing to work with you to oppose any net income tax hikes.