The Norquist anti-tax pledge allows signers to support raising regressive taxes only
Almost all Republican federal lawmakers have signed the Norquist pledge against raising taxes. In the current, 113th Congress, 229 representatives and 39 senators have signed the pledge (source). Here’s the pledge:
I, ____________, pledge to the taxpayers of the _____district of the state of _________ and to the American people that I will:One, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; andTwo, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
Notice that the pledge says nothing about raising sales tax rates. So, signers of the pledge are free to raise the sales tax, provided it’s balanced by a lowering of other taxes. Of course, the sales tax is regressive. Republicans want to protect rich people, not the poor and the middle class. So the oh-so-cynical pledge only mentions income taxes, not the sales tax.
I was hoping that one way to fix Washington State’s regressive tax system would be to have a revenue neutral swap of sales taxes for, say, a capital gains tax. That would shift the tax burden from the poor and middle class to the rich. That might be more acceptable to Republicans (and to the voters) than a non-revenue neutral increase in income taxes. But it apparently violates the first clause of the Norquist pledge.
This suggests a tactic. Democrats should say
Republicans want you to pay higher taxes than the rich!
Democrats need to stop letting Republicans frame these issues.
By the way, according to Paula Joneli (source), the Washington signers of the Grover Norquist “No Taxes” Pledge are:
12 State House Members:
Cary Condotta R-12 Wenatchee
Larry Crouse R-4 Spokane
Mark Hargrove R-47 Covington
Brad Klippert R-8 Kennewick
Joel Kretz R-7 Wauconda (NE WA)
David MacEwan R-35 Union (Hood Canal)
Ed Orcutt R-20 Kalama
Jason Overstreet R-42 Lynden
Liz Pike R-18 Camas
Charles Ross R-14 Naches (also in ALEC)
Matthew Shea R-4 Spokane Valley (also in ALEC)
David Taylor R-15 Moxee
All four Republican members of US Congress from Washington have signed Grover Norquist’s pledge; Herrera-Butler, Hastings, McMorris-Rogers, and Reichert.
For a related page see Let’s fix our unfair tax system in Washington State.