Ever since ATR sent a letter to California legislators, informing them that a vote to put Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax hikes on the ballot would be a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, union bosses and liberal editorial boards, namely the Sacramento Bee, have been busy knowingly spreading lies about the Pledge and smearing legislators who have signed it.
Our friends at the Sacramento Bee were kind to allow ATR president Grover Norquist to set the record straight in this past Sunday's Bee:
Another View: Tax pledge an important commitment to citizens
By: Grover Norquist
Re "D.C. interloper again seeks to dictate policy" (Editorial, Jan. 8):
The Bee's editorial board is confused about what the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is and who it is made to. The pledge is not a commitment to any one person or Americans for Tax Reform; what good would that be? The pledge is a commitment that the signer makes to their constituents. One need only read the simple language of the pledge, which states, "I ______, pledge to the taxpayers of the ______ district of the state of California, and all the people of this state, that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes."
Americans for Tax Reform simply informs pledge signers when there is a vote that would violate their pledge, urges them to keep their pledge and educates voters as to who has maintained their commitment and who has not – a public service not always provided by the Fourth Estate.
The editorial board is not only confused about the pledge but apparently fails to understand those who make this important pact with voters. Republicans in the Legislature don't oppose tax increases just because they signed the pledge. They signed the pledge because they recognize that more tax increases will do nothing to fix the state's overspending problem and are sick of seeing employers pack up and move to Dallas and Austin.
The governor is free to place his massive tax increase before the voters through the initiative process. All he has to do is collect the necessary signatures. It's no secret that there are plenty of deep-pocketed union bosses who would be more than happy to help pay for signatures in the name of higher taxes. However, what Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrats want, and what The Bee echoes, is a request that Republican legislators join hands in putting tax hikes on the ballot. Why? Because Brown and legislative Democrats want Republican fingerprints on their tax hike.
Unfortunately for the entrenched political class in Sacramento, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has shown Republicans from coast to coast that treating constituents like adults, implementing necessary austerity measures, standing up to entitled government employee union bosses, and saying no to further tax increases is both good policy and good politics.
I would encourage Brown to take notice of his Democratic counterpart in New York, Andrew Cuomo, who, in facing an equally grim fiscal reality, recently remarked that his state "has no future as the tax capital of the nation."
Neither does California.