, Salem, MA

The Nation

March 8, 2011

Anti-tax pledge directs budget debates nationwide



Two current Republican state senators, Sam Blakeslee, of San Luis Obispo, and Anthony Cannella, of Ceres, have not signed it, along with Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres.

Norquist, who has been involved in national Republican politics since the early 1980s, said any lawmaker in California who signed his pledge and votes for Brown's budget proposal would violate the pledge. He said Brown's call for a special election on the taxes is akin to voting for the taxes themselves.

"If the pledge that people take is to oppose and vote against tax increases, putting a tax increase on the ballot is moving forward a tax increase," he told the AP.

California's state sales tax is the highest in the nation, and trails only Tennessee when average local sales taxes are included, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

While Norquist says a vote to put taxes on the ballot would violate the pledge in California, Americans for Tax Reform gave a green light for Republican lawmakers to place a similar measure on the ballot in Arizona in 2009, as long as they approved accompanying budget cuts. Voters subsequently approved the sales tax increase, which was proposed by GOP Gov. Jan Brewer.

Norquist's involvement prompted the Arizona Daily Star to editorialize about why lawmakers there were waiting for "his permission," noting that he does not live or pay taxes in Arizona.

In an editorial, the newspaper said, "Legislators beholden to Norquist's pledge don't deserve their jobs."

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