"No New Taxes" pledge signers win two governor seats and an estimated 20 new legislative seats.
WASHINGTON – Taxpayers scored a major victory last night as taxpayer-friendly candidates swept elections in Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Two new governors who signed the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) "No New Taxes" Pledge will take office in Kentucky and Mississippi, as well as 15-20 new legislators in New Jersey, Virginia and Mississippi.
"The 2003 elections were elections overwhelmingly dominated by the tax issue, and taxpayers all across the country can breathe a little easier this morning," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads ATR in Washington, DC. "The sentiment that \’enough is enough\’ where taxes are concerned has taken a firm hold at both the state and federal levels," he continued.
The two new taxpayer-friendly governors are Ernie Fletcher (R-Ky.) and Haley Barbour (R-Miss.) who won their races by 55-45 and 53-45 percent margins, respectively. Both candidates signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise from candidates and elected officials to voters to "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes." Neither of their opponents did. Currently, President George W. Bush, 10 governors, 42 U.S. Sentators, 217 U.S. Representatives, and 1,300 state legislators have signed the Pledge.
"Taxpayer candidates won their races overwhelmingly," continued Norquist, "and this is the realization of a trend against Big Government that Americans have seen since the late 1970s."
The only state that missed the trend is New Jersey, the richest state in America but also one of the most solidly liberal. Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) told New Jersey voters during his campaign in 2001 that he would not raise taxes, but he did not sign the Pledge, and he followed up in 2002 with a tax hike.
"Not a single tax increase has been signed into law at the federal level since Bill Clinton was president and the Democratic Party controlled Congress in 1993," said Norquist, "and taxpayers have long been ready for that trend to hit the state and local levels, as well. Today is a good day, indeed."