(Host) A national tax reform group says 20 candidates for statewide and legislative offices in Vermont have signed a pledge not to support any tax increases in the coming two years. This number represents about five percent of all candidates in the state.
Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, stood with most of the candidates at a Statehouse press conference on Tuesday. Norquist has been leading an effort throughout the country to encourage candidates to sign the “no tax increase under any circumstances” pledge:
(Norquist) “Taking the tax pledge is the beginning of an elected official saying that they intend to govern rather than to raise taxes as they work to make Vermont a better place to work, save and invest and to raise a family.”
(Host) The group said it was disappointed that incumbent Republican governor Jim Douglas refused to sign the pledge. Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Hardy Machia emerged as the only candidate in the governor’s race to embrace the pledge:
(Machia) “I’m also very proud to sign the taxpayer’s pledge. One of the main reasons I ran for governor is because of the tax problem we have in Vermont. The current governor raised the sales tax 20 percent and the budget increased $800 million. So those are two things we need to roll back.”
(Host) Machia supports rolling back state spending to the levels included in the 2001 budget. If that happens, Machia says the sales tax can be repealed and property taxes would be cut in half.