From the Philadelphia Inquirer, Angela Couloumbis writes: “The most powerful person in the state Capitol these days might not be the governor or any of his top deputies or even anyone from Pennsylvania. It might just be Grover Norquist. His Washington-based group Americans for Tax Reform has persuaded hundreds of elected officials – Gov. Corbett among them – to sign a 25-year-old pledge to constituents that they will not raise or create any taxes. Thirteen governors (New Jersey's Chris Christie is not on the list) and 1,252 legislators have signed the pledge, according to Americans for Tax Reform. In Congress, 236 House members and 41 senators have signed. ‘I would argue it's a spending pledge,’ says Norquist, 54, who began the group in 1985 and has been a force in national politics. ‘It limits the amount of money that any government can spend. And if you don't have money, you can't spend what you don't have.’”

Dan Weil from “The bipartisan effort to come up with a budget deficit reduction plan by the “gang of six” senators has stalled with the withdrawal of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. In the wake of that development, The Hill has put together a list of winners and losers from the group’s apparent collapse… Winner: Grover Norquist. The president of Americans for Tax Reform had urged Coburn to bolt, maintaining that Democrats would accept only a deal that includes tax increases.”

Alison Fitzgerald from Bloomberg writes: “Every Republican involved in the [budget] negotiations has signed [Norquist’s] pledge, which includes two promises: to ‘oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or business’ and to ‘oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.’ ‘The pledge makes it difficult or impossible to raise taxes,’ [Norquist] said. ‘It doesn’t make it difficult to cut spending. That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?’ While most budget experts and economists agree that to reduce the deficit for the long term will require both spending cuts and higher taxes, Norquist doesn’t see it that way. ‘If it’s not mentioned in the Constitution, that is a strong argument that American taxpayers should not be paying for it.’