Why Mike Huckabee Can’t Be The Conservative Choice For President, Redux
Earlier this week I pointed that Mike Huckabee’s support for a national smoking ban in “workplaces” (but that means everywhere as just about every public space is somebody’s workplace) should disqualify him as a choice for President for conservatives given the lack of respect for both private property rights and federalism inherent in that policy.
A lot of people didn’t think the manifestation of Huckabee’s “nanny state” side was enough to disqualify him as a candidate for conservatives, so today let me present his record as a tax hiker.
From the Club for 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 (Arkansas Times 09/22/05), 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 (Cato Policy Analysis No. 315, 09/03/98); cut the state capital gains tax in 1999 (The Commercial Appeal 02/29/99); 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 (AP 03/16/99). 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 (Cato Policy Analysis No. 315, 09/03/98).
* He supported an internet sales tax in 2001 (Americans for Tax Reform 01/07/07).
* He publicly opposed the repeal of a sales tax on groceries and medicine in 2002 (Arkansas News Bureau 08/30/02).
* He signed bills raising taxes on gasoline (1999), cigarettes (2003) (Americans for Tax Reform 01/07/07), and a $5.25 per day bed-tax on private nursing home patients in 2001 (Arkansas New Bureau 03/01/01).
* He proposed another sales take hike in 2002 to fund education improvements (Arkansas News Bureau 12/05/02).
* He opposed a congressional measure to ban internet taxes in 2003 (Arkansas News Bureau 11/21/03).
* In 2004, he allowed a 17% sales tax increase to become law (The Gurdon Times 03/02/04).
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 (01/07/07), 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” (Washington Examiner 09/13/06), even though objective evidence demonstrates that the Bush tax cuts have actually shifted the tax burden to higher income taxpayers.
Conservatives can quibble about things like smoking bans, I guess (though I don’t see how any conservative can stray from federalist principles and respect for private property rights), but even setting that issue aside there’s little doubt that Huckabee is a “big government” guy when it comes to taxes.
And that’s someone no conservative should want in office.
Remember that just because someone has an “R” listed behind their name in news stories doesn’t mean they’re a conservative or that they’ll support policies conservatives favor.