Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and all senators today urging them to take tax hikes off the table:

On behalf of the millions of limited government activists we represent, we would urge you and all Senators to declare net tax increases “off the table” in any budget or debt limit negotiations.  Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership have already done so, and they have the firm backing of their  Conference.  Only when tax increases are off the table can the serious work of spending cuts and entitlement reforms begin in earnest.

It’s clear that Washington, DC has an over-spending problem, not an under-taxing problem.  Over the next decade, federal tax revenues are estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to pour in at levels at or above the historical norm.  However, spending is expected to be well above the historical norm each and every year of this decade, before exploding in the out years as the Baby Boomers retire in force.  Precisely none of the reasons for large and persistent budget deficits have to do with taxes—all of the reasons come from the spending side of the equation.  Spending needs to be brought down to the level of taxation, not the other way around.  Raising taxes to pay for Obama-sized government is a recipe for economic and fiscal disaster.

Grand budget compromises should be avoided unless tax increases are truly off the table.  The experience taxpayers have with this is well-documented.  In 1982, President Reagan was promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.  The tax increases happened, but the spending cuts never materialized.  In 1990, President George H.W. Bush was persuaded to break his “Read My Lips” promise at Andrews Air Force Base, agreeing to $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.  The tax increases all went through, but spending was higher after the deal than it was projected to be before the deal—in other words, no spending cuts actually occurred.  

The limited government movement is united around the unavoidable fact that Washington spends too much money, and that’s what has put our nation in debt.  Higher taxes will simply fuel yet more spending, as it has in the past.  Only when tax increases are no longer part of the conversation can the debate in Washington turn to where it squarely belongs—the Beltway’s addiction to spending.  

We urge all Members of Congress and Senators to take tax increases off the table in any budget or debt limit legislation.


Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity
Dick Patten, American Family Business Institute
Al Regnery, The American Spectator
Duane Parde, National Taxpayers Union
Tom Giovanetti, Institute for Policy Innovation
Michael Needham, Heritage Action for America
Amy Kremer, Tea Party Express
Mattie Corrao, Center for Fiscal Accountability
Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association
Richard Vigeurie,
Morton Blackwell, The Weyrich Lunch
Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
Gary Bauer, American Values
Karen Kerrigan, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom
Bill Pascoe, Citizens for the Republic
Andrew Langer, Institute for Liberty
Dino Teppara, Indian American Conservative Council
Mario Lopez, Hispanic Leadership Fund
Brad O'Leary, The O’Leary Report
Ken Hagarty, ReAL Action
Brian Burch, Catholic
Sam Slom, Smart Business Hawaii
Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach
Rick Watson, Rick Watson and Associates
Seton Motley, Less Government
Jennifer Hulsey, American Grassroots Coalition

cc: United States Senate