Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax crusading group headed by Grover Norquist, sent out a press release last night slamming U.S. Senate candidate Bob Turner for pushing a “compromise” on taxes, a move they said was reminiscent on President Barack Obama.
“In an unfortunate twist to the New York U.S. Senate Republican primary, Bob Turner admits that he supports higher taxes. To date, fellow Republican primary candidate Wendy Long is the only candidate to make a written commitment to New York taxpayers that she will not raise taxes if elected in November,” reads the release.
At issue is an interview Mr. Turner did with Liz Benjamin in which he said that Republicans “can’t continue to uniformly oppose tax increases in order to solve the debt issue.” and that “there will certainly be compromises.”
Asked by Ms. Benjamin if that included tax increases, he responded, “Whatever has to be done.”
Mr. Norquist has been a thorn in the side of Republican lawmakers–and some would argue the Democratic process itself–by making GOP candidates sign pledges not to raise taxes, and then threatening them with primaries if they go back on their pledge.
Mr. Turner is locked in a race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate against Ms. Long, a Manhattan lawyer, and George Maragos, the Nassau County comptroller.
The rest of the release is below:
It seems as if Representative Turner’s short tenure in Congress has changed him for the worse. Not only does he think that taxpayers can afford higher taxes, but that reaching across the aisle for this purpose is a noble cause.
Adding insult to injury, Turner went further in a one-on-one interview. He stated, “Let’s not dig in, put ourselves in a position where we can’t move forward.” Although President Obama’s campaign reelection team has yet to comment on the fact that Turner is borrowing their campaign slogan, it is clear that Turner has taken a page out of national Democrats’ campaign book. Recently, compromise has become a code word for tax increases. It seems that both the President and Bob Turner are interested in the same thing: higher taxes.
“By refusing to take tax hikes off the table, Bob Turner demonstrates that he is out of touch with New York taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “No matter how much money he spends, Turner cannot hide from the fact that he supports higher taxes that are detrimental to New York small businesses and families.”
“Before next month’s primary, voters deserve to know specifically which tax hikes Bob Turner supports. All we can assume at this point is that he is being vague so that he can wait for cues from national Democrats about the minority party’s 2012 tax hike agenda.”
“I applaud Wendy Long for her dedication to the taxpayers of New York,” continued Norquist. “By taking the Pledge, Ms. Long understands that politicians must focus on Washington’s out of control spending and not higher taxes. I only hope that Bob Turner will reconsider his own misguided higher tax agenda.”
Jessica Proud, a spokeswoman for Mr. Turner, sends along the following statement clarifying his position:
“Anyone who wouldn’t close some tax loophole in exchange for removing trillions of dollars of debt from the backs of our children doesn’t belong in public office. Bob Turner has never voted for a tax increase in his life and he is adamant that our tax code be reformed to give Americans and small businesses more of their money back to grow this economy. All he is saying is that it will take Democrats and Republicans working together to dig ourselves out of this hole, and at the end of the day, that will either happen or we will find ourselves bankrupt. That is the choice.”