Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Huckabee Not Being Honest on his Record on Taxes?

I came across this criticism from Club for Growth, and only because it jives with what I have been told by Arkansas natives do I republish it here. Of course, I suppose it is a victory of sorts that shows Huckabee to have gained some traction to be drawing fire like this.


Recently, members of the media have begun to inspect former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s record with increasing scrutiny. Many have cited the Club for Growth’s criticisms of Huckabee’s economic record, criticisms that are based on exhaustive research of Huckabee’s ten-year tenure.

With his economic credentials called into question so frequently, Mike Huckabee has a ready answer, as he did this morning on Fox News Business: “I cut taxes ninety-four times. I was the first governor in the hundred and sixty year state that ever did that.”

Unfortunately, this line is terribly misleading as Huckabee intends it to be. Governor Huckabee did indeed cut taxes, but the “94 tax cuts” line is an exaggeration on par with Al Gore’s “I invented the Internet.” Using Huckabee’s strange math would mean that George W. Bush cut taxes hundreds of times in 2001 and 2003. While Huckabee signed a $90 million tax cut package early in his tenure, the rest of his “94 tax cuts” were minor cuts and tweaks to the tax code, such as exempting residential lawn care from the sales tax; reducing taxes on bets made at Southland Greyhound Park; and exempting Arkansas Symphony Orchestra purchases from the sales tax. And while we give Huckabee some credit for his modest tax cuts, his tax increases far outpaced his tax cuts, with the average tax burden increasing 47% over his tenure, as documented by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette .

Some of these tax increases include (please see attached chart for detailed documentation):

* Sales Tax, 1996: Huckabee campaigned vigorously for a constitutional amendment to raise the sales tax, which passed by 8,562 votes (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 11/07/96)

* Gas and Diesel Fuel Taxes, 1999: Huckabee signed these tax hikes into law, contrary to his claim that they were passed by 80% of Arkansas voters (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 04/02/99, 04/25/99)

* Sales Tax, 2000 (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 09/25/02)

* Cigarette Tax, 2001 (Associated Press, 04/02/01)

* Nursing Home Bed Tax, 2001 (Associated Press, 06/25/01)

* Sales Tax, 2002: Huckabee proposed a sales tax increase nine days after being reelected, though he made no mention of his intentions when he was campaigning against a ballot measure to repeal the state sales tax on groceries (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 11/15/02); his Legislature rejected his proposal.

* Income Surcharge Tax, 2003 (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/09/07)

* Tobacco Tax, 2003 (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/09/07)

* Sales Tax, 2003-2004: Huckabee sat on the sidelines while his Legislature pushed through the largest tax increase in Arkansas history, refusing to veto the measure because he didn’t “want to obstruct the wishes of the Legislature” (Associated Press, 02/06/04)

* Internet Taxes, 2004: Huckabee opposed a congressional moratorium on state taxation of Internet access (Bond Buyer, 02/24/04)

Huckabee’s “94 tax cuts” is, at best, well-crafted political spin, and we urge all members of the media to cross-examine Mike Huckabee when he resorts to his favorite line. Contrary to Huckabee’s claims, the Club for Growth is not on a witch hunt against him. We simply believe that the American public deserves to know the facts about his economic record, much as we have done in our other white papers. The more Huckabee continues to insist on his economic conservatism or distort the truth about his tax increases, the more the Club for Growth feels the need to combat his talking points with the truth.


To be completely fair to Mike Huckabee, here is a response to the Club for Growth allegations agaist Mike:
D.R. Schmidt -

Absolutely. I am all about being fair around here, and I really don't have a problem with Mike.

However... the response is a bit week, don't you think? I mean, first pulling out Reagan, and then making excuses for raising taxes? I might be wrong here, but I don't think that most conservatives would find tax hikes excusable under just about any circumstance.


Here is some more background on the CfG motives as well...
'In an attempt to understand why the supposedly conservative Club for Growth is determined to destroy the campaign of Mike Huckabee, it is helpful to understand that Jackson Stephens gets what he wants. So, when Mike Huckabee opposed him in Arkansas, he did what very few had dared to do. In 2002, Huckabee decided to oppose a voter initiative to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries and medicine, an effort that Stephens was helping to fund. Tensions got so bad between the two that Stephens told a local newspaper Huckabee had become a “tax and spender.” '

Do read this article - it does provide some more background info for your due-Do read this article - it does provide some more background info for your due-diligence.
Gov. Huckabee slurs the CFG as the "Club for Greed". He's a big-government Republican.
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