Tags: GOP2016 | Mike Huckabee | tax hikes | Arkansas

Club for Growth: Huckabee Raised Taxes 'Often' as Ark. Gov.

Image: Club for Growth: Huckabee Raised Taxes 'Often' as Ark. Gov.
(Jim Young/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 May 2015 03:18 PM

A leading conservative group is greeting Mike Huckabee's presidential run with a campaign of its own — a $100,000 television ad blitz in primary states reminding voters that Huckabee raised taxes as a Republican governor of Arkansas.

"Governor Huckabee raised taxes; he raised them a lot and he raised them often," Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement on Tuesday announcing the spot that will air in Iowa and South Carolina.

"And, as our ad points out, numerous conservative organizations highlighted those massive tax increases when Huckabee ran for president in 2008. Since he's decided to run again, and is still not telling the whole story on his tax record, then we'll do it for him."

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The attack ad ties Huckabee to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, and highlights a potential problem for the former Fox News host: A social conservative who fared well with evangelicals and values voters in 2008, and has given up his television job to seek office again, he faces sharp questions about his record as governor from 1996 to 2007 from fiscal conservatives.

Huckabee announced his latest presidential run on Tuesday in his home town of Hope, Arkansas, with observers immediately skeptical that the populist conservative will be embraced by the small-government advocates who form another influential GOP constituency.

"Better known in recent years for saying occasionally outrageous things as a commentator, Huckabee governed Arkansas for more than a decade as a pragmatist, devoting his attention to basics such as roads, schools and healthcare," Alan Greenblatt of Governing magazine writes in an essay for Politico.

"On those issues, though, Huckabee generally took positions too liberal to suit a Republican presidential prospect in 2016 — posing a conundrum for him as he plunges this week into the 2016 presidential race," writes Greenblatt.

Huckabee raised gas taxes and sales taxes, and instituted a tax on beds in nursing homes, and while he said on Tuesday that he cut state taxes 94 times, "the state's total tax bill increased on his watch, as did state spending and the number of state employees," writes Greenblatt.

FactCheck.org in 2008 counted 21 tax hikes totaling $505.1 million under Huckabee.

His campaign at the time defended the new taxes as necessary because the state legislature wasn't allowed to resort to deficit spending, USA Today reports.
 
In an apparent effort to pre-empt criticism, Huckabee issued a video last week stating that as governor, he cut both taxes and welfare, balanced the state's budget every year for 10 years, and raised Arkansas' average family income by 50 percent.

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Politifact, however, rated the 50-percent claim as "Mostly False," stating that with inflation factored in, average family income in Arkansas rose 20 percent on Huckabee's watch, 1996-2007, a figure  that "trailed nationwide trends."

Club for Growth chief McIntosh released a second statement on Tuesday saying that Huckabee as governor "dramatically drove up the cost of government, while increasing the state's tax burden to historically high levels.

"And, he continues to view those costly actions with pride," said McIntosh.

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A leading conservative group is greeting Mike Huckabee's presidential run with a campaign of its own — a $100,000 television ad blitz in primary states reminding voters that Huckabee raised taxes as a Republican governor of Arkansas.
Mike Huckabee, tax hikes, Arkansas
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2015-18-05
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 03:18 PM
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