Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Huckabee vs. Romney on taxes

So many people have questioned Huckabee on his fiscal policies. As I have said before, this is probably one area where I agree with him the least. With that said, the more I look at the other candidates, the rosier his position and record seem to be. I found this in an article by Michael Medved, and thought it was very concise and simply said.

"... Meanwhile, it’s also worth a few lines here to defend the Arkansan from the claim that he’s a secret “big government liberal” or, in the phrase of the Club for Growth, “Tax Hike Mike.”

According to figures from the non-partisan Tax Foundation (based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce), Huckabee’s term as governor (1996-2007) led to a modest increase in the overall State-Local tax burden for Arkansas: from 10.1% in the year he became governor to 11.1% the last year he served. In terms of overall tax burden (state-local-federal) Arkansas remained virtually unchanged--- from 30.3% (39th among the 50 states) to 30.5% (32nd place).

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, saw sharper increases in taxes during his single gubernatorial term (2003 to 2007) in Massachusetts. The state-local burden rose from 9.8% the year of his election to 10.5% his last year as governor. Meanwhile, the total tax burden went up from 31.2% to 33.9% -- vaulting Massachusetts from 9th place to 7th place in the nation.
These numbers don’t prove that Huckabee was a great governor, or that Romney was a poor governor: actually, both men count as exemplary public servants and authentic conservatives (and both of them have taken Grover Norquist’s “No New Taxes” Pledge—in contrast to their rivals Giuliani, Thompson and McCain, who have refused to do so). Both candidates deserve respect for doing a solid job in handling state legislatures with overwhelming Democratic majorities and scoring some notable achievements as governor (though both states flipped to Democratic control in 2006).

For those who are interested in the truth, however, the growth of the tax burden in Arkansas under 11 years of Huckabee looks no worse (and actually a tad better) than the growth of taxes in Massachusetts under 4 years of Romney."

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