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Dems Criticize Hinckley for Signing No-Tax Pledge

Friday, February 10, 2012


Republican Senate candidate Barry Hinckley confirmed Thursday that he has signed onto the controversial no-tax pledge created by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist.

Known as the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” the oath requires elected officials to put in writing that they will never vote to raise taxes on American citizens. Signed by 238 members of the House of Representatives and 41 Senators, the pledge has led many to call Norquist the most powerful man in Washington.

“I signed Grover's pledge because I don't believe tinkering with a broken tax code is going to get us where we need to be,” Hinckley said.

Hinckley: “Grover is a Burn Victim”

The candidate said he met briefly with Norquist Thursday in Washington D.C., before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). While in Washington, Hinckley said he has met with Texas Senator John Cornyn and Utah Senator Mike Lee. He said he plans to meet with former Presidential candidate Herman Cain Friday.

Hinckley said the tax pledge is based on the existing tax code, which he believes is broken. He called Norquist a “burn victim” who has seen too many politicians go back on their word.

“Grover's position is you never give an inch because they lie to you,” he said.

Dems Rip Hinckley

But state Democrats say Norquist has too much control over Republicans. State Democratic Party executive director Stephanie DeSilva said Rhode Islanders realize that Republicans are simply looking out for the wealthiest Americans.

"It’s really disappointing to see the grasp Grover Norquist has over Republicans -- they're standing to protect millionaires and billionaires and all the special tax giveaways to Big Oil, while pushing for cuts to Social Security and Pell grants that would have a drastic effect on Rhode Island middle-class families. Rhode Islanders know it's the wrong policies and the wrong priorities,” she said.

Liberal blogger Brian Hull, the editor of Rhode Island’s Future, said signing a co-tax pledge restricts an individual's options when it comes to thinking about growing the economy through government investments, paying for critical services that Americans depend on, and eventually balancing the budget.

“I'm not entirely surprised since conservatives (not just Republicans) generally use ‘tax cuts’ blindly as their solution to every problem,” Hull said. “But we're already taxed at the lowest level since the 1960s, so I'm not entirely sure what Hinckley and Norquist are fretting about. Unfortunately, Hinckley playing to groups like Norquist's Americans for Tax "Reform" demonstrates how the financial burden of running for office closes off legitimate possibilities for responsible governance. If candidates didn't have to chase down every bit of money they could, maybe we would have politicians that understood governing includes principles and compromises.”

Whitehouse “has No Plan”

But Hinckley said the truth is the country needs to reform its tax code, which he has made one of his top priorities. He ripped Whitehouse for not signing on to the balanced budget amendment and blamed “political grandstanding” as the reason a compromise hasn’t been reached in congress.

“He has been down there 5 years and done zero about {the tax code],” Hinckley said. “Rhode Island needs jobs and his plan is to raise taxes with no long-term solution, which means he only wants more money to spend and has no other plan.”

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