A Disingenuous Pledge


Contemplating running again for the Montana House of Representatives, I wrote a letter to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. In this letter I wrote, in part:

“I am proud to have signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge several times in the past. But presently I am in a quandary and not certain if I can sign it again when campaigning for Montana House District 3. My problem with signing the pledge might be based upon a false rumor; therefore this letter to you.

“I have been informed if I vote to reduce or eliminate present subsidies, deductions, loopholes and tax incentives, such as for ethanol, wind mills, – and gray water systems, I will be breaking the pledge. Is this true?”

I have yet to receive a response to my letter.

The ATR pledge, also known as the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, would have me “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

While I am as adamant as ever against increasing taxes, I am also against “corporate welfare” and subsidies that encourage the government to waste money providing goods and services that should be provided by the private sector for profit.

While we need to keep taxes as low as possible, we also need to pay down our liabilities and debts. Therefore, until I receive an acceptable answer to my letter, I will not be signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Jerry O’Neil
Columbia Falls