John Carroll has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, known as the “no new taxes” pledge. Apparently he will be the only candidate running for the U.S. Senate who is signing the pledge this year. Lingle, Case and Hirono have all declined.
Politicians often run for office saying they won’t raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing.
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate’s constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.
A December 11, 2011 Honolulu Star Advertiser article clearly defines the candidates’ position on taxes:
Conservatives have been successful at pressuring Republicans in Congress — and a few Democrats — not to agree to any tax increases. Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington-based interest group founded by conservative activist Grover Norquist, has persuaded 238 members of the House — a majority — and 41 members of the Senate to sign a pledge promising not to raise taxes. The group offers the pledge to all new candidates.
Hirono and Case will not sign the pledge.
Lingle will not sign, either. As governor, Lingle opposed most new tax increases. She did support higher state taxes on tobacco products to curb smoking and allowed a bill that gave Oahu the right to impose a rail surcharge to become law without her signature.
According to a spokesman, Carroll would sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against new taxes.
Lingle had previously signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge during her campaign for governor, but once elected reneged. As noted by the Star Advertiser, she supported higher taxes on a number of occasions.