Another Republican candidate has refused to sign the radical anti-tax pledge authored by activist Grover Norquist and pushed by his group, Americans for Tax Reform. The pledge has played a major role in the GOP’s tax intransigence over the last several years.
Republicans who disavow the pledge, however, are growing in number, and New Jersey state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R), who is running against Sen. Bob Menendez (D) this year, has joined the list. Asked on Fox News this afternoon if he would sign Norquist’s pledge, Kyrillos said bluntly, “I don’t sign pledges”:
HOST: Would you sign the pledge? No new taxes?
KYRILLOS: I don’t sign pledges.
HOST: So you wouldn’t sign it?
KYRILLOS: I don’t sign pledges. But I’ve been in the state senate a long time, and I don’t vote for broad-based income or sales taxes or broad-based taxes of any kind, and I’m not going to do it now. But you know what? I want to go into this thing open and honestly and deal with it in a forthright way.
Though it’s a positive sign that Kyrillos is rejecting Norquist’s pledge, his insistence on opposing broad-based tax increases still runs counter to a “wide consensus” among economists that the U.S. will need to increase tax rates to reduce its debt in the future.
And though there are an increasing number of Republicans taking on Norquist, the GOP’s refusal to even consider tax increases continues to cause problems for the American economy. A year ago this week, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the country’s credit rating for the first time in history, blaming the decision specifically on the Republican Party’s refusal to consider new revenue.