Trip to "Tax Pledge" activist consistent with governor's tax hikes on working class WisconsinitesRecently, it was revealed that Scott Walker attended the Christmas party of one Grover Norquist, presumably in an attempt to raise funds for the impending recall campaign for the Wisconsin governor.
The trip to New York was unannounced, kept hidden from the people of Wisconsin, until a blogger tweeted he had seen Walker at the party. The administration said that there was no need to keep tabs on the governor's "personal" calendar, that his "official" calendar was the only one that had to be kept up-to-date with the people.
It is perhaps prudent that the "official" office of the governor shouldn't divulge such information -- it may in fact be illegal to do so. But the governor himself ought to inform the public of his "personal" calendar when such events lead to him being out of state -- or include campaign fundraising -- especially when it's unknown to the people he represents what he's doing. There should be openness when it comes to politicians' fundraising activities, and Walker's actions have been anything but open (at least in terms of whether he's the one releasing it or not).
It's troubling still what the governor was probably doing during this particular trip -- but not all that surprising. It's a well-known fact in the political world what Norquist's organization, Americans for Tax Reform, represents: no tax increases ever within any level of government (a promise that isn't always kept intact within the organization itself). Gov. Walker signed the pledge during the campaign for governor in 2010, meaning he would oppose any and all tax increases -- including removal or diminishing of tax credits.
The pledge reads:
I, _____, pledge to the taxpayers of the (____district of the) state of ______ and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.Emphasis added.
Unfortunately for Walker, he violated this pledge within the budget he passed this last summer, raising taxes on workers by millions of dollars.
Walker greatly reduced the Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits that were effectively increases in the amount the working poor had to pay toward their taxes. The administration countered that net taxes overall went down, and that reductions to credits didn't amount to tax increases.
Those arguments don't hold up to the tax pledge that Norquist and ATR had Walker sign -- the credits that Walker reduced were not "matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates" (see emphasis above). So Walker violated the pledge, and is automatically slated to be attacked by Norquist and ATR, set to face the wrath of challenges at a primary election from his fellow conservatives, right?
Not so fast -- during the payroll tax debate, the American working class was slated to face an increase in taxes had Congress refused to take any action. For a time, it seemed like that was going to happen (until a two-month extension was passed and signed into law last week). So what did Norquist tell Republican lawmakers? He essentially said that the payroll tax hike wouldn't amount to violating the pledge he had them sign, indicating that his tax pledge only applied to the wealthy.
It stands to reason, then, that by raising taxes on the poor in the state, Walker doesn't violate Norquist's tax pledge. At least, that is until you consider the hypocrisy that such reasoning employs.
Walker raised taxes. Norquist said to his pledge signers "don't raise taxes, or else!" but he didn't really care when the taxes raised were on the working class. In the end, it is all a ruse designed to lower taxes for the rich, not the middle class.