In his bid to secure the U.S. Senate GOP nomination, Rick Bennett has refused to give specifics about his economic plan. Bennett has left the door open for tax hikes on Maine taxpayers and small businesses.

On his campaign website, Bennett states, that in order to end the deficit and our national debt, “everything should be on the table.”  No word yet on a response from national Democrats regarding the fact that Bennett is borrowing a phrase that Nancy Pelosi and others used during the debt limit debate last year.

The phrase has been employed by Democrats over the past three years as an argument for tax hikes. What Nancy Pelosi and Rick Bennett have incorrectly identified as the problem with Washington its need to have taxpayers fork over more of their hard earned money.  Bennett’s 8 year absence from public office has left him unaware of a new political reality: voters expect Republican candidates to have an interest in reining in Washington’s over spending, not raising taxes.

The worst part about the fact that Bennett has left tax hikes on the table by refusing to sign the Pledge to Maine taxpayers is that on January 1, 2013, America faces the largest tax increases in the US history.

There are more than 147,000 small businesses in Maine that account for more than 38 percent of Maine’s economic activity. The average small business has $1.3 million in revenue, subjecting them to the top tax rate of 35 percent. In January, that rate is set to rise to 39.6 percent. Although Bennett would not take office until after January 1, the risk of giving him a seat at the negotiating table should leave Maine’s small businesses scared.

 “By refusing to sign the Pledge and leaving tax hikes on the table, Rick Bennett joins the ranks of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Given the importance of small businesses to Maine’s economy, Rick Bennett’s openness to higher taxes should cause voters who support Bennett to reconsider.”

[PDF of Press Release]