The Huckabee Tax Record

November 30, 2007

The tax record of former Arkansas Governor and current Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has garnered a lot of media attention in the past few weeks as Huckabee has surged in the polls in Iowa. David Lightman has a pretty fair summary of the issue in an article on the Chicago Tribune’s website. Here’s the introduction:

Mike Huckabee was an early signer of the Republicans’ no-tax-hikes pledge, and he’s campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination by touting the 90 different taxes he cut as the governor of Arkansas.

He doesn’t mention how, during his 10-and-a-half years as governor, he presided over $505 million worth of tax increases. Sales taxes were raised. So were gasoline taxes, and the per-capita tax burden on the state’s residents grew by about 50 percent.

“He always talked against taxes, but he wanted all these spending programs,” former Democratic state Rep. Boyd Hickinbotham said. “So he’d treat taxes like a rotten egg. He’d hold his nose, but he liked being able to spend the money.”

Richard Weiss, who ran the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration for eight years of Huckabee’s administration and heads it today under a Democratic governor, has a different view. Huckabee, he said, “reacted to the times and the issues. He put the state first.”

The article goes on to make one point real clear to the reader: when a politicians says “I cut taxes X amount of times,” you can often take it with a grain of salt. A politician could vote to double the sales tax on Mountain Dew and in return exempt Caffeine Free Diet Cherry Coke from the sales tax base and claim he cut taxes, when in reality such a policy is either no tax cut at all or a relatively small tax cut, not to mention downright terrible tax policy.

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