Huckabee Distorts His Record On Tax Increases


Mike Huckabee falsely claimed that he did not sign legislation that imposed a 3 percent income tax surcharge while he was governor of Arkansas. In fact, as The Associated Press reported of the tax legislation, Huckabee "signed it in 2003 without a peep."

Huckabee Claims He Didn't Sign Bill That Imposed Income Tax Surcharge

Huckabee: "The Surcharge I Did Not Support Or Sign." On the February 27 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said to Huckabee, "Conservative fiscal groups said that you were a big tax-and-spender as governor of Arkansas," citing among other examples, a "3 percent income tax surcharge." Huckabee responded: "The surcharge I did not support or sign, and I did sign its repeal. So, that's a misnomer." [Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, 2/27/11]

In Fact, Huckabee Signed Bill That Imposed Income Tax Surcharge

In May 2003, Huckabee Signed Tax Bill That Imposed 3 Percent Income Tax Surcharge. In a May 9, 2003, article, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported: "The Arkansas House of Representatives and the Senate bridged their differences Thursday and approved a $100 million tax increase to head off threatened cuts in state services. Gov. Mike Huckabee signed the tax bill into law several hours later." The Gazette noted that the bill "imposes a 3 percent income tax surcharge that would generate an estimated $39.9 million from 2003 income and $52.1 million from 2004 income." The article further reported:

Huckabee had pleaded with lawmakers Monday to raise taxes so that no Arkansan is left without vital services.

"While I'm not happy we were forced to raise taxes, it was the responsible thing to do to protect those Arkansans who are the most vulnerable but the least connected politically," Huckabee said Thursday. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/9/03, accessed via Nexis]

AP: Huckabee Signed Bill Imposing Surcharge In 2003 "Without A Peep." In a January 2005 article reporting on the impending repeal of the income tax surcharge, The Associated Press reported: "Huckabee says now that he didn't like it and didn't support it, though he signed it in 2003 without a peep." From the AP:

The skids appear to be greased for passage of legislation to repeal the 3 percent income tax surcharge, adopted in 2003 as part of a tax package to overcome a $250 million budget shortfall for human services and prisons.

Repeal legislation sailed through the Senate on Thursday, a day after it won a ringing endorsement from the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and about the same time that the House tax panel sent an identical measure to the House floor.

Legislators don't necessarily like losing the $53 million in general revenues that repealing the surcharge would cause, but what choice do they have?

Even in tight budget times in 2003, the surcharge passed only after a compromise between its supporters and anti-tax conservatives who demanded a time certain for the measure to expire.

Drafters came up with a financial formula that would lower the percentage of the surcharge incrementally or eliminate it altogether based on Huckabee administration projections of future revenue growth, beginning with the fiscal year that starts July 1.

In November, finance chief Richard Weiss announced that state revenue projections would exceed the best-case scenario envisioned by the legislation - 4.3 percent growth and a $156 million surplus for fiscal 2006.

Some leery lawmakers viewed with suspicion the formula on which the forecast was based, and some questioned whether the administration's pronouncement was based more on expedience - Gov. Mike Huckabee says now that he didn't like it and didn't support it, though he signed it in 2003 without a peep - or legitimate financial projections that would trigger a total repeal. [The Associated Press, 1/24/05, accessed via Nexis]

And Prior To Signing Bill, Huckabee Reportedly Said He Would Accept An Income Tax Surcharge To Increase Revenues

Huckabee Reportedly "Said He Would Accept Any Of The Increases Lawmakers Had Proposed, Including ... An Income-Tax Surcharge." In an October 9, 2007, article about Huckabee's tax record as governor, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that in a May 5, 2003, address, Huckabee urged state lawmakers to "increase taxes and pass budget bills to stave off cuts in crucial state services" and that Huckabee "said he would accept any of the increases lawmakers had proposed, including higher tobacco taxes, an increase in the sales tax or an income-tax surcharge." The Gazette further noted that "[t]hree days after the start of the May special session, the Legislature passed a bill that raised taxes on tobacco products and established on a 3 percent income-tax surcharge. Huckabee signed the bill into law hours later." [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/9/07, accessed via Nexis]

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Fox News Channel
Mike Huckabee
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