National Democrats have spent much of the 2010 election cycle misleading the public about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to constituents to oppose tax increases. To my knowledge, until now it has largely been an effort of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in U.S. House races. The DCCC has repeatedly made the argument that the federal Pledge encourages corporations to "ship jobs overseas." It has been debunked every step of the way, with nonpartisan FactCheck.org finding the claims "blatantly false."
It appears this misleading argument has trickled down to state legislative elections. The Akron Beacon-Journal noted yesterday that organized labor in Ohio put out a direct mail hit piece on Kristina Roegner, candidate for State House in Ohio's 42nd District. The mailer claims that Roegner "actually signed a pledge that would keep corporate tax breaks and loopholes in place that encourage companies to send our jobs overseas.''
This is patently false. The Pledge commits a signer to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes.” ATR determines whether a vote violates the Pledge based on its overall revenue impact, meaning a bill that eliminates tax credits can remain Pledge-neutral by cutting taxes elsewhere. By signing the Pledge, Kristina Roegner acknowledges that high taxes are the true job-killers in Ohio. She has made a commitment to the 42nd District never to raise their taxes. Her incumbent opponent, Rep. Mike Moran, has refused to do the same. In fact, he voted for Gov. Strickland's $844 million income tax hike just last year.
For ATR's press release on organized labor's inaccurate hit piece, see below. For a PDF copy, click here.
WASHINGTON, DC—Organized labor recently launched a new line of attack on Kristina Roegner, State House candidate challenging Rep. Mike Moran in Ohio’s 42nd District, by attempting to mislead voters about the actual meaning of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In a direct mail piece, Moran supporters argue that Roegner’s Pledge “would keep corporate tax breaks and loopholes in place that encourage companies to send our jobs overseas.” In reality, the goal of the Pledge is to protect taxpayers and businesses from tax increases, and does not prevent revenue-neutral elimination of tax credits.
The “No New Taxes” Pledge commits a signer to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes.” By making this promise, Roegner has taken tax hikes off the table for all taxpayers in Ohio – something Rep. Moran has not done.
This is not the first time national Democrats have tried to misrepresent the meaning of the Pledge. During the special election in HI-01, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) ran misleading attack ads against the Pledge. FactCheck.org, a non-partisan "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics, responded by condemning the DCCC and agreeing that the ads were “blatantly false.”
Similar claims about the Pledge were made recently in Michigan, Nevada, and Washington. In Michigan, the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, a Jackson, Michigan newspaper, deemed Rep. Mark Schauer’s claims about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and Tim Walberg to be “not true.” In Nevada, Jon Ralston of Face to Face “reality checked” the Dina Titus campaign ad and found the claims made against the “no new taxes” Pledge to be “thoroughly misleading.” King 5 TV in Washington called the accusations against the Pledge and Senate candidate Dino Rossi to be a “stretch.”
“Why are Mike Moran and his allies going out of their way to shamelessly distort Kristina Roegner’s position on taxes? The Pledge signed by Roegner is a promise to constituents and businesses to never raise taxes. Moran has yet to make the same promise and should explain to voters how tax hikes revive a struggling economy and promote job growth in Ohio,” said ATR President Grover Norquist.
“Kristina Roegner has committed to never raising taxes on her constituents while her Democrat opponent has left the door for tax hikes wide open,” continued Norquist.