CD 19 Republicans Pledge to Hold the Line on Taxes

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: March 19, 2014 3:55 AM
Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist

With three major Republicans battling it out to replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., in Congress, one of the most prominent conservative groups in the nation is looking to ensure the candidates will hold the line on taxes.

This week, two of the three candidates duking it out in the April 22 primary signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” pushed by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). Since 1987, ATR, led by President Grover Norquist, has urged candidates to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." More than 1,200 officeholders across the nation, including 39 U.S. senators, 219 congressmen and 14 governors, have signed the pledge.

On Monday, Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel signed ATR’s pledge.

“I want to congratulate Ms. Benacquisto for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” Norquist said on Monday. “The American people are tired of the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington and they’re looking for solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again.”

Kreegel signed the pledge on Monday as well, garnering Norquist’s praise, too.

“By signing the pledge, Paige Kreegel demonstrates that he understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of Florida,” Norquist said.

“I challenge all candidates for federal office to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist said.

While businessman Curt Clawson, who is also running for the Republican nomination, has not signed the pledge yet, campaign spokesman David James told Sunshine State News on Tuesday that they were very open to it.

"We are taking a very serious look at the pledge," James told Sunshine State News on Tuesday night.

The Clawson camp also insisted that their opponents' pledges meant nothing, maintaining that both Benacquisto and Kreegel supported raising taxes and fees during their times in Tallahassee and, in Benacquisto's case, during her time holding local office in Wellington.

Clawson will be holding an event with the Tea Party Express on Wednesday in Bonita Spring and it is expected that group will endorse him.

Whoever wins the April 22 primary will face Democrat April Freeman and Libertarian Rey Northwood in the June 24 general election.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (2)

7:07AM MAR 19TH 2014
MY opinion, since I cannot vote in this district is April Freeman should be given the nod to represent the district. NOT because she's a D, but because two others have had their turns in government and both have either failed, or is failing the people, and Mr. Clawson demonstrates his complete ignorance of what many of us want, lower taxes, so he refuses to sign the pledge. While it is true the pledge is non binding, it is also an excellant tool for judging the winning candidate's "word" while they're voting on tax issues.
10:46AM MAR 19TH 2014
gee, I did not realize Grover Norquiswt was mentioned in the Constitution. And Federal taxes are relatively low and if you actually want to retire the deficit and have a decent society they need to be in aggregate higher but both simpler and more progressive. Agreeing to sign Norquist's pledge should automatically disqualify a candidate from serious consideration.

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