Is Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee a Pro-Growth, Economic Conservative?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by carpro, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. carpro

    carpro
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    http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2007/11/updated_huckabee_white_paper.php

    Is Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee a Pro-Growth, Economic Conservative?

    Editors Note: Released on January 29, 2007, the Club for Growth's white paper on Mike Huckabee was the first in its presidential white paper series. As the presidential race developed over the past ten months, many readers have expressed comments and questions, and new information about Governor Huckabee's record has come to light. In order to ensure that our presidential white papers continue to be thorough and relevant, we are issuing an updated account of Mike Huckabee's economic record.


    Taxes
    The Club for Growth is committed to lower taxes across the board. Lower taxes on work, savings, and investments lead to greater levels of these activities, thus encouraging greater economic growth.

    Governor Huckabee touts himself as an economic conservative, writing in his biography that he "pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history" and "led efforts to establish a Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights" early on as governor,[1] but he only offers a small piece of the picture. It is true that Governor Huckabee fought for an $80 million tax cut package in 1997 that was passed by the Arkansas Legislature;[2] cut the state capital gains tax in 1999;[3] and passed the Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights in the same year, limiting the increase in property taxes to 10% a year for individuals and 5% per taxing unit.[4] However, his record over the rest of his ten-year tenure tells a starkly different story.

    Immediately upon taking office, Governor Huckabee signed a sales tax hike in 1996 to fund the Games and Fishing Commission and the Department of Parks and Tourism.[5]

    He supported an internet sales tax in 2001.[6]

    He publicly opposed the repeal of a sales tax on groceries and medicine in 2002.[7]

    He signed bills raising taxes on gasoline (1999), cigarettes (2003)[8], and a $5.25 per day bed-tax on private nursing home patients in 2001.[9]

    He proposed another sales take hike in 2002 to fund education improvements.[10]

    He opposed a congressional measure to ban internet taxes in 2003.[11]

    In 2004, he allowed a 17% sales tax increase to become law.[12]

    By the end of his ten-year tenure, Governor Huckabee was responsible for a 37% higher sales tax in Arkansas, 16% higher motor fuel taxes, and 103% higher cigarette taxes according to Americans for Tax Reform,[13]

    garnering a lifetime grade of D from the free-market Cato Institute. While he is on record supporting making the Bush tax cuts permanent, he joined Democrats in criticizing the Republican Party for tilting its tax policies "toward the people at the top end of the economic scale,"[14] even though objective evidence demonstrates that the Bush tax cuts have actually shifted the tax burden to higher income taxpayers.
     
  2. faithcontender

    faithcontender
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    See the other side of the story.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7IzX...eature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y32yZ...eature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98ycg...eature=related
     
  3. faithcontender

    faithcontender
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    Read also the defense of Lucas Roebuck - the former opinion page editor of the Benton County Daily Record, former assignment editor for KNWA-NBC, and former managing editor for the Northwest Arkansas Times and Siloam Springs Herald-Leader.

    By Lucas Roebuck

    Manhattan myopia fueled by the natural tension between fiscal and social conservatism seems to be the modus operandi of the assassination piece against former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, penned by John Fund, one of the Journal’s leading editorial voices.

    Fund attempts to make the case that Huckabee is “not the ‘consistent conservative’ he claims to be.” However, instead of constructing a well-researched case of examples of Huckabee’s supposed conservative inconsistencies, Fund strings together a handful of individuals who simply accuse Huckabee of being liberal with little or no factual support. Furthermore, what little evidence Fund does present is skewed by critical omissions of relevant fact.

    Huckabee is obviously a stronger conservative on social issues than on fiscal ones, which is the opposite of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, hometown favorite of the Manhattan GOP crowd. The Journal, based in New York City, values fiscal conservatism over social conservatism, so the worst kept secret is the group-think going on among the opinion writers at the Journal favors Giuliani.

    Fiscal conservatives have become frustrated with their weakening influence in the GOP (not that I blame them) and have grown to resent social conservatives reign over the Republican party since President Bush took office in 2001. Also, the elite in the GOP have always looked down on their mostly Southern social conservative allies, and this is particular true for the Journal, which often, like much of the mainstream media, can’t see very well beyond the shores of Manhattan. Fund’s column against Huckabee embodies this frustration. Huckabee’s gaining in Iowa polls, and he is the strongest social conservative hands down among GOP candidates, so naturally he is drawing fire from the GOP elite.

    The strongest case against Huckabee’s fiscally conservative record in Fund’s column is Fund’s implication that Huckabee raised the gas tax in Arkansas to pay for road repair for Arkansas dilapidated interstate system. (I would argue, even on a philosophic level, that raising gas taxes to pay for roads is not necessarily contradictory to fiscal conservatism.*)

    I say that Fund implied Huckabee raised the tax, because Fund knows saying outright that Huckabee raised the tax would be inaccurate. Fund refers to Huckabee’s “efforts to raise taxes to repair roads” and cites a state senator who said Huckabee urged him to “back a gas tax increase.”

    What Fund omits from his column is that this tax was a referendum in 1999 put out to be voted on by the people of Arkansas, not something imposed by a state legislature and signed into law by a governor. The people of Arkansas spoke at the ballot box, and through direct democracy, imposed the tax on themselves.

    If you want the bottom line on Huckabee’s tax policy, as Fund points out, Huckabee has signed the Americans For Tax Reform no new tax pledge. Rudy has not signed the pledge.

    As an Arkansas journalist for nearly a decade, I had a unique opportunity to observe Huckabee’s character. I believe Mike Huckabee is a man of his word and if elected president, will not raise taxes.


    At any rate, Huckabee’s social conservative track record is unrivaled by any one else in the GOP field. Front runners Romney, Giuliani, McCain and actor Fred Thompson don’t even come close to the consistency of Huckabee’s social conservatism, which is ultimately where Fund’s analysis of Huckabee falls apart. When Huckabee is talking about being consistently conservative, he is talking about the promotion of the sanctity of life, opposition to gay marriage and other core social conservative values that his opponents have flip flopped on enough times to rival John Kerry.

    Every year while governor, Huckabee led the line in Arkansas’ annual Right to Life march. Huckabee also led efforts to pass a state constitutional amendment recognizing marriage as a bond between one man and one woman. Finally, Huckabee was proactive in helping to strengthen marriages in Arkansas by promoting “Covenant Marriages” as an option in Arkansas, where couples must see counseling before a judge will grant a divorce on grounds of convenience.

    Huckabee is not the perfect candidate. HIs flirting with carbon credits and his weak stance against SCHIP expansion, both noted by Fund, don’t thrill me.

    But who can I count on to strongly oppose the infanticide going on in this country? Not Giuliani, who is self-described as pro-choice, nor Romney, who flips on issues like abortion for political expedience. Who can I trust not to raise taxes? Not Giuliani, who won’t sign an anti-tax pledge, nor Romeny — again, whose flip-flopping ruins his credibility.

    Contrary to Fund’s assertion that Huckabee is an inconsistent conservative, Huckabee is a social conservative I know I can count on.

    Fund's column can be found at: http://opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110010782

    * Even hard core fiscal conservatives agree that the government must be involved in some public works projects — like roads. Few people — if any — would argue that creating a healthy system of roads is not one of the government’s primary responsibilities. I would also argue that if you are going to have a tax, making those who directly benefit from the service the tax will provide, i.e. those who drive on roads (or rather, who buy gas), pay for the tax is also fiscally conservative — as opposed to some “progressive” income tax or universal sales tax.


    ----

    Lucas Roebuck is the former opinion page editor of the Benton County Daily Record, former assignment editor for KNWA-NBC, and former managing editor for the Northwest Arkansas Times and Siloam Springs Herald-Leader.

    http://roebuckreport.blogspot.com/2007/10/funds-column-assassination-of-huckabee.html
     
  4. TomVols

    TomVols
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    Just a thought - is raising sales taxes (an original Federal Constitutional method of raising revenue) less sinful than raising or implementing an income tax?

    Cato gave TN's Gov Phil Bredesen high marks, but he raised the sales tax as well, and has opposed eliminating the sales tax on food, and advocated raising the taxes on tobacco. I still wonder if Huckabee stole the girlfriend from someone at Cato, or if Bredesen has a cousin working at Cato :laugh:
     
  5. TomVols

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    I disagree with this. I can see Huckabee being more socially conservative than Rudy or Mitt historically, but McCain less so and definitely not so with Thompson.

    I've never understood this on a couple of levels. One, having a "covenant marriage" makes the normal marriage committment what? Diet Marriage? Caffeine-free marriage? Marriage-lite? Isn't marriage a covenant anyway? Second, requiring counseling is something that Gov Sundquist pushed through in TN before the end of his second term. Basically, you take a form to a "counselor" (it can be almost anyone). If they sign the form saying you had 3 hours of Pre-marital counseling (No definition), then your marriage license cost is reduced by 50%. From my experience as a minister, I'd say 70-80% of those are signed without even one nanosecond of counseling. When I tell people I actually do PMC, they tell me the long list of people who will sign it without it. It's just worthless, feel-good legislation. To try to put teeth to this is having govt stick its nose where it doesn't belong - legislating what is spiritual counseling and what is not.

    I applaud politicians wanting people to take marriage seriously, but I don't applaud window-dressing as a supposed method to do so.
     

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