Parsing the Record on Taxes and SpendingWe are always eager to set the record straight on taxes and spending. This week, we have four items to share, of legislators who stand up for taxpayers, legislators who say they do but don’t, and one unabashedly for tax hikes!
Sen. Damon Thayer
Recently, we’ve received a few questions about Sen. Thayer’s record on our legislative scorecard, and whether his score is satisfactory. As we put it in 2011:
||In the history of our scorecard, no Senator has opposed unnecessary spending and held the line against tax increases more often than Damon Thayer….His record isn’t perfect, but his commitment to government transparency, low taxes and controlled spending is unmatched in the Senate.
Let us be clear, Thayer has not “failed” the scorecard. His score from the 2009-2010 political cycle is a satisfactory 73% even though the Senate is difficult to accurately score, as we explain annually on our scorecard. His scorecard results are a success, and characterizing them any other way is a distortion of a fine record.
Sen. David Givens
A friend recently brought a Sen. David Givens campaign mailer to our attention:
As you can read above, it says: “Consistently Opposes Tax Increases – David Givens has voted against tax increases on families and negotiated lower taxes while in the State Senate.” This is blatantly FALSE.
During Sen. Givens four years in the Senate, there has really only been one significant tax increase brought to the Senate floor – 2009′s HB 144, a $160 million annual tax increase. While Thayer and eleven other Senators opposed it, Sen. Givens voted for it. HB 144 increased tobacco taxes and created a new tax on alcohol, double-taxing the industry and giving Kentucky one of the highest alcohol taxes in the country! (Don’t try to argue that ‘families’ are unaffected by these taxes. Families throughout the Commonwealth are involved in growing, producing, distributing, retailing and consuming these products.)
Additionally that year, Givens voted to create a tax on “Internet Protocol Television (HB 236), create new taxes on digital property (HB 347) and hike the gas tax by $0.04 (HB 374).
This probably also puts to lie his claim of ‘Honest Government.’
Other Taxpayer Betrayals
Kentucky is woefully short of politicians who have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not to raise taxes on Kentuckians. The pledge states:
||I, ____________, pledge to the taxpayers of the _____ District of the State of _________ and to all the people of this state, that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.
Kentucky only has 4 Senators and 22 House Members who have signed the pledge. Of those, 10 have violated it by voting for 2009′s HB 144! It’s one thing to raise taxes. It’s another thing entirely to raise taxes after pledging to you constituents that you never would!
These legislators have broken their signed pledge not to raise taxes:
|Rep Bob Damron (D-39)
||General Election Opponent: Matt Lockett
|Rep. Bob DeWeese (R-48)
||Primary Election Opponent: Scott Reed
|Rep. Danny Ford (R-80)
|Rep. Jim Gooch (D-12)
||Primary Election Opponent: Jim Nance
|Rep. Keith Hall (D-93)
|Rep. Melvin Henley (D-5)
|Rep. Jeff Hoover (R-83)
|Rep. Lonnie Napier (R-36)
|Rep. James Stewart (R-86)
The only Kentucky legislators who have pledged not to raise taxes and have upheld that pledge are:
Sens. Tom Buford (R-22), Julie Denton (R-36) and Katie Stine (R-24); and Reps. Julie Raque Adams (R-32), Kevin Bratcher (R-29), Tim Couch (R-90), Ron Crimm (R-33), Jim DeCesare (R-21), CB Embry (R-17), Joe Fischer (R-68), Wade Hurt (D-37), Thomas Kerr (R-64), Kim King (R-55), Stan Lee (R-45), Brad Montell (R-58) and Marie Rader (R-89).
One legislator is pledging to raise taxes:
We all know that Frankfort has a spending problem, but Rep. Rita Smart (D-81) doesn’t. Rep. Smart is so disappointed that Kentuckians aren’t taxed enough to fund the spending she so desperately wants. From a Richmond Register article:
Smart said while it’s important to be efficient and not waste taxpayers’ money, the blame for the budget cuts rests solely on the shoulders of the state’s “antiquated” tax system.
“There’s just not enough income from tax revenue to support the things we need in our city and state,” Smart said. Legislators struggled to create a budget that would keep the state running despite the state’s Budget Office prediction of a $742 million gap between revenue and spending over the next two years.
Smart realizes that budget cuts in the judicial branch will hurt a lot of people who are already struggling in the slow economy. “Sometimes when (legislators) do things, we don’t realize the consequences,” she said.
Smart strongly advocates revamping the state tax system so the government, one of the biggest employers in Madison County, can prevent service cutbacks and furloughs. Legislators and experts in Frankfort have been examining the problem for several years, and Smart hopes that action will be taken soon.
“We just have an inadequate revenue stream,” Smart said.
She is clearly continuing the liberal tax-and-spend tradition of her predecessor Harry Facebook In the general election, Smart will face Republican Mary McGill Long, who doesn’t seem serious enough to have a website or facebook page.
The Kentucky Club for Growth will continue to be an advocate for taxpayers in Frankfort.