Mike Huckabee Won't Rule Out Raising Taxes
By Bluey Posted in 2008 | Spotlight Blogs — Comments (96) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee today announced he will file papers to create a presidential exploratory committee, declaring he is “an authentic conservative who has a proven record of results.” However, even before Huckabee kicks off his presidential bid, he’s already facing criticism for his record on taxes.
Minutes after announcing his plans on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Huckabee addressed conservatives at the National Review Institute summit in Washington, D.C. He spoke to reporters and bloggers following his speech.
Read on . . .
I asked Huckabee about his record on taxes. As the Club for Growth has noted (here and here), Huckabee has raised taxes during his tenure as governor. The libertarian Cato Institute gave him an “F” for his “insistence on raising taxes at almost every turn throughout his final term.”
“Will you, right here and now,” I asked, “pledge not to raise taxes if you’re elected President?”
Huckabee declined to take my pledge -- and by extension signaled that he won’t sign Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. (Grover Norquist publicly ridiculed Huckabee on ATR’s Christmas card in 2006.)
In defending his record, Huckabee noted that 90% of the Arkansas budget is made up of spending on “prisons, Medicare and court-ordered education spending.”
He said the 3-cent gas tax he signed wasn’t his fault because voters approved it. Besides, he said, Arkansas had one of the worst road systems in the country, suggesting the tax hike was warranted.
Huckabee gave Russert a similar answer earlier in the day on “Meet the Press” when pressed on the issue of taxes.
RUSSERT: Because of the war in Iraq, because of deficits, health care and infrastructure, would you keep raising federal taxes on the table?
HUCKABEE: I don't think taxes is really where we need to go. It's not that our taxes are too low, it's our spending is too high. Arthur Godfrey said I'm proud to spend taxes but it's about getting spending under control.
RUSSERT: Read my lips, no new taxes?
HUCKABEE: I think you have to be careful. I wouldn't propose any new taxes or support any. But if we are in a situation where we are in a different level of war where there is no other option, it is a dangerous position to make pledges outside the most important pledge you make, and that is to uphold the constitution and protect the people of the united states.
The Club for Growth will release a report on Monday detailing Huckabee’s record on fiscal issues. Huckabee knows the criticism is coming. The question is whether he responds to it by pledging not to raise taxes (as candidates Sam Brownback and Mitt Romney already have) or keeps playing defense.