Today, a broad coalition of center-right organizations released a joint letter calling on Republican leaders in Congress to block any attempt to raise taxes in the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations. The letter reminds lawmakers of the budget deals of 1982 and 1990 that raised taxes but failed to deliver on promises to cut spending. In part, the letter states:

“Our organizations represent millions of tea party and limited government activists and scholars from around America. We are all united in one opinion about the on-going debt limit negotiations—tax increases need to be ‘off the table,’ since Washington, D.C. has an over-spending problem, not an under-taxing problem.

Washington, D.C. already spends too much of our money.  The historical level of federal government spending has been 21 percent of economic output.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), federal spending will be 23-24 percent of economic output each year for the rest of this decade, and then balloon to over 30 percent in the next few decades.  Higher taxes to fuel President Obama’s super-sized welfare state will only make this problem worse.

America has a fiscal crisis because Washington spends too much, not because it taxes too little.  According to CBO, tax revenues will reach or exceed the historical average of 18 percent of economic output by the end of this decade, even as spending continues to careen out of control.  Raising taxes would kill jobs, wreck any hope of an economic recovery, and simply serve to enable an out of control spending elite in Washington, D.C.

Grand compromises to cut spending and hike taxes have failed in the past.  In 1982, President Reagan was promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.  The tax increases happened, but President Reagan was still waiting for the promised spending cuts when he left office.  In 1990, President George H.W. Bush was promised $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.  He broke his “Read My Lips” tax pledge at Andrews Air Force Base, but CBO numbers prove that not a single penny of the promised spending reductions was realized.  Putting tax increases on the table now will only result in real tax hikes on American employers and families, and phony spending cut promises that never get realized.  The focus must be on spending, and spending alone.”

Signatories to the letter include (organizational affiliations listed for information purposes only):

Jim Martin of 60 Plus Association

Dick Patten of American Family Business Institute

Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity

Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform

Duane Parde of National Taxpayers Union

Susan Carleson of The Carleson Center for Public Policy

Brian Burch of

Mario Lopez of Hispanic Leadership Fund

Timothy Lee of Center for Individual Freedom

Andrew Quinlan of Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Chuck Muth of Citizen Outreach

Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxation

Richard Viguerie of Conservative HQ

Gary Marx of Faith and Freedom Coalition

Rick Watson of Florida Center-Right Coalition

Jimmy LaSalvia of GOProud

Nicole Neily of Independent Women’s Forum

Tom Giovanetti of Institute for Policy Innovation

Bob Adams of League of American Voters

Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring

Seton Motley of Less Government

Amy Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research

William Shaker of Republican Pac

William Greene of

Karen Kerrigan of Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Rick Hendrix of ClearWord Communications Group

Sam Slom of Smart Business Hawaii

David Williams of Taxpayer’s Protection Alliance

Mattie Corrao of Center for Fiscal Accountability

Lisa Miller of Tea Party WDC 

[PDF version]