Taxpayer Protection Pledge is liberating, not limiting.

WASHINGTON – In a gubernatorial debate last night, Democrat candidate Ben Chandler refused to sign Americans for Tax Reform\’s (ATR) Taxpayer Protection Pledge. He said that a candidate for public office should be "open" to all options.

But being "open" to all options, in practice, means being willing to raid the pocketbooks of the people of Kentucky, during economic hard times, rather than exercising fiscal discipline and making tough choices. By promising to remain "open" to new taxes, Ben Chandler would join a group of governors including Bob Riley (R-AL) who tried to raise taxes by $1.2 billion, Gray Davis (D-CA) who tripled the already high car tax, Bob Taft (R-OH), who raised taxes as much as $2 billion, and Ted Kulongoski (D-OR) who snuck a billion dollar tax increase through the legislature in the dead of night.

"If Ben Chandler refuses to pledge not to raise your taxes, what he is really saying is that he plans to raise your taxes," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Kentuckians better keep an eye on their wallets if he is elected."

Since 1986, ATR has urged federal and state candidates and officeholders to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising the voters that they will "oppose and vote against/veto any and all efforts to increase taxes." To date, President Bush, 42 U.S. Senators, 217 Congressmen, eight governors, and over 1200 state legislators have shown their commitment to hard-working families by signing the Pledge.

"Ben Chandler has it all wrong – signing the Pledge is a liberating act, not a limiting one," Norquist continued. "The spending interests in Frankfort are relentless in their efforts to spend more and more of our hard-earned tax dollars. Most politicians are hostages to the big-spending interests. But signing the Pledge frees you from the spending interests by taking the tax issue off the table. No tax increase is floated, because everyone knows it would be vetoed."

"By refusing to sign the Pledge, Ben Chandler willingly hands his freedom over to the big spenders in Frankfort."