WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) today awards Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas "Friend of the Taxpayer" for the month of December. ATR has given the award to friends of the taxpayer every month since 1997.

ATR awards Gov. Huckabee "Friend of the Taxpayer" for his announcement November 28, 2001, that those residents of Arkansas who believe they are not paying enough in taxes already may contribute more to the "Tax Me More Fund" at the state Department of Finance and Administration. Contributions then will move directly into the state general revenue fund, and contributors\’ names will be a matter of public record.

"There\’s nothing in the law that prohibits those who believe they aren\’t paying enough in taxes from writing a check to the state of Arkansas," said Governor Huckabee. "Maybe this will make them feel better" (Office of the Governor, Press Release 11/28/01).

Rather than assuming that increased spending will solve current state budget woes, Governor Huckabee has cut spending according to the Revenue Stabilization Act. "We have the Revenue Stabilization Act that allows us to react to economic downturns and prevent deficit spending without having to call a special legislative session," explained Huckabee. "There\’s no need for new taxes. We set our spending priorities during this year\’s legislative session, and we should stick with those priorities without trying to add to the burden of the hard-working taxpayers of Arkansas" (Office of the Governor, Press Release 11/28/01).

In November, Governor Huckabee cut spending by $143 million this fiscal year and $160 million next year. "Asking Arkansas families who are already wounded from a hurting economy to pay even more in taxes – that would be like asking a bleeding friend to donate a pint of blood," said Huckabee (GoMemphis, 11/15/01).

"Governor Huckabee clearly possesses the courage to act upon his convictions," said Grover Norquist, President of ATR. "I commend Governor Huckabee for the choice he has given the taxpayers of Arkansas: contribute additional income to the Tax Me More Fund, or don\’t. In the meantime, state government will cut spending. State government officials across the nation should take note of Governor Huckabee\’s example of how to handle a spending shortfall."