Taxpayer Advocates Battle Tax Increases

Published February 1, 2004

In Nevada, Dan Burdish of Nevadans for Tax Restraint and George Harris of Nevadans for Sound Government are leading the fight to repeal part of Democrat Governor Kenny Guinn’s $776 million tax increase package, passed in July 2003. Burdish and his team must collect 51,234 signatures from registered voters by May 18, 2004 to repeal Guinn’s $358 million in new payroll taxes on financial institutions, including banks.

In New Jersey, a similar campaign to oppose a gas tax increase earned more than 8,000 signatures in just one week. Democrat Governor Jim McGreevey’s blue ribbon commission proposed increasing the gas tax by 12.5 cents per gallon to pay for transportation spending–even though the governor said he is against such an increase.

In Ohio, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell is leading a petition drive to repeal Republican Governor Bob Taft’s $2.9 billion tax increase plan from 2003. State Senator Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls) introduced SB 159 on December 4 to repeal Taft’s 1 cent sales tax increase.

In Oregon, Jason Williams of the Oregon Taxpayers Alliance is “working to secure signatures to repeal Democrat Governor Ted Kulongoski’s $201.3 million tax increase plan.” Kulongoski actively supported the income tax surcharge and business-related tax increases that voters may have the opportunity in November 2004 to repeal.

“Taxpayers have voices,” commented Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Taxpayers and their advocates in Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, and Oregon have demonstrated that they will not accept their governors’ and legislatures’ attempts to raise taxes without first hearing from voters.

Emily Sedgwick Ansell is recently married (November 2003) and an analyst for Americans for Tax Reform (