PICKET: NY Congressman argues he won't re-sign ATR pledge due to new district number

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Here’s a new excuse for breaking the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) pledge. The office of Rep. Chris Gibson, New York Republican, now says that he “doesn’t plan to re-sign it for the 19th Congressional District, which he now represents (the pledge is to your constituents of a numbered district).” Gibson, like many other House members this year, was redistricted since first being elected in 2010.

Grover Norquist, President of ATR, has continually reminded people that the ATR pledge that a congressional lawmaker signs, which is a promise to one’s constituents that he/she will not vote for legislation that will raise taxes, is for the entire duration of one’s time in Congress.

When Gibson first ran for office in 2010, the website “on the issues” portrayed Gibson’s signing of the ATR pledge this way:

Taxpayer Protection Pledge: no new taxes.

Gibson signed Americans for Tax Reform “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” 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.

Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.

Source: Americans for Tax Reform “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” 10-ATR on Aug 12, 2010 Supports the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Gibson signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge against raising taxes

[The ATR, Americans for Tax Reform, run by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist, ask legislators to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in each election cycle. Their self-description:] In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. Since its rollout in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts. Today the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is offered to every candidate for state office and to all incumbents. More than 1,100 state officeholders, from state representative to governor, have signed the Pledge.

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge: “I pledge to the taxpayers of my district and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

Stephanie Valle, Gibson’s press secretary, responded to an inquiry on Gibson’s remarks saying:

“What the Congressman has stated is that he is opposed to increasing the marginal rates for individuals and businesses and has voted against this as a standalone measure.  He has voted for proposals that accomplish tax reform by closing loopholes and deductions that don’t grow the economy or help hardworking families, which allows marginal rates to be lowered.” 

“That being said, however, he will consider all comprehensive packages brought forward as a result of bipartisan negotiations.  His priority is to help NYS – lowering the tax burden for hardworking families, small businesses, and our family farms.  This is because of a recognition that high taxes are an impediment to growth in New York and result in less discretionary income for NY families.” 

“Beyond that, any other discussion is asking for a comment on a hypothetical bipartisan agreement, which has not developed and Congressman Gibson may or may not support and may or may not include tax changes.”

“What the Congressman believes people in Upstate New York want right now is leadership and solutions to our fiscal challenges.  In an era of divided government, this requires careful examination of all bipartisan agreements.  His position is completely unchanged from his term in Congress and his recent campaign, which voters just evaluated him on and decided to return him to Congress as their representative.”


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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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