Kansas lawmakers continue to oppose tax hikes
By MARY CLARKIN
Special to The Telegram
U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to oppose and vote against tax increases, and he's sticking with that promise.
Recently, some Republicans in Congress, including Sens. Lindsey Graham, S.C., and Saxby Chambliss, Ga., and Rep. Peter King, N.Y., said the pledge was outdated and should not be the determining factor as a deal is negotiated to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
If action is not taken in December, automatic tax hikes and spending cuts will occur in January.
"With the President and other D.C. politicians of both parties again suggesting tax increases in response to their overspending, it is now more important than ever that Washington doesn't force another tax increase on an already unstable economy," Huelskamp said in a statement.
"I made a clear pledge to my constituents that I would oppose tax increases — and I am following through on exactly what I promised," Huelskamp said.
Five of the six Kansans serving in Washington — Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Dodge City, and Jerry Moran, R-Hays, and Reps. Huelskamp, Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka — have signed the Americans for Tax Reform's anti-tax increase pledge. Grover Norquist is founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform.
Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, is the only Kansan who has not signed the Norquist pledge.
The News recently asked Kansas signers for their view of the pledge in light of budget negotiations in Washington, and some Republicans' criticism of the pledge.
Moran did not respond. Huelskamp was the most emphatic in his commitment to the pledge.
Statements issued by others were:
* Pompeo: "My commitment to the people of Kansas has not changed. Our federal government is still too big and still spends too much money."
* Jenkins: "Raising taxes is not going to solve our massive debt and deficits problems, so I do not see my pledge to Second District voters to not increase their income taxes playing a significant role in the debate. I have always been open to raising revenue through comprehensive tax reform, and it is time for President Obama to put forth a credible plan that actually addresses the real problem — which has always been spending."
* Roberts: "Kansas taxpayers don't want higher taxes, they want less spending. They want a tax policy that won't harm our fragile economy and that won't penalize particular industries or businesses."