Saxby Chambliss signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge in Senate race against Max Cleland, who opposes making last year\’s tax relief permanent.

WASHINGTON – Some are calling this year\’s Senate race in Georgia a "tale of two candidates." At issue: Deep differences between the two leading candidates, Rep. Saxby Chambliss and Sen. Max Cleland, on tax policy.

Chambliss, the Republican congressman from Georgia\’s eighth district, made his position on taxes first known when he signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge on April 14th, 1994. He was then a candidate for the congressional seat he now holds. Chambliss again signed the Pledge on April 15th of this year, in his race for the U.S. Senate.

The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform in Washington (ATR), is a written promise by candidates and officials to their constituents to "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses, and … oppose any further reduction or elimination of deductions and credits." Currently, President George W. Bush, 212 members of the U.S. House, 37 senators, 7 governors, and over 1,200 state legislators and local officials have signed the Pledge. ATR publicly asks all candidates to sign it.

"Chambliss and Cleland cannot make their positions any clearer, and all signals point to taxes as the big issue in this year\’s Senate contest," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads ATR in Washington. "The choice for Georgians is clear: One candidate supports permanent tax relief and opposes new federal taxes, while the other won\’t fight against tax increases and does not support permanent tax relief."

Permanent tax relief is presently a contentious issue in the U.S. Senate. President Bush\’s tax relief plan, which was signed into law last June, will expire in nine years due to an obscure rule invoked in the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House, with the support of Rep. Chambliss, voted to make the plan permanent on April 18th, while a vote to do so in the Senate is being held up by Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

"The question is really about the size and scope of government," continued Norquist. "Chambliss has repeatedly shown his opposition to tax hikes and big government. And if Cleland is not the tax-and-spend, big-government politician that his record displays, he should publicly urge Senator Daschle to allow a vote on permanent tax relief, as Senator Zell Miller has done."

Chambliss has consistently sided with taxpayers in ATR\’s congressional scorecard. He received a 100% rating this year, and received ATR\’s "Hero of the Taxpayer" award. Cleland scored a 15% rating on ATR\’s senate scorecard. More information on the ATR congressional scorecard can be found at ATR\’s website: