Tags: Arkansas | Gov. | Huckabee's | 'Tax | More | Fund' | Spreads

Arkansas Gov. Huckabee's 'Tax Me More Fund' Spreads

Tuesday, 22 January 2002 12:00 AM

Unlike Huckabee, however, who by executive order created a fund where "under-taxed" people can donate to the government, the conservative lawmakers in Kansas intend to introduce legislation creating their fund.

One of the sponsors, Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, said, "We'd like to introduce a means which would allow Kansans to speak for themselves."

Graves wants $228 million in tax increases to help close a projected $426 million revenue shortfall – that is, $426 million in overspending.

But imitation is not the only form of flattery that has come Huckabee's way since he faced his own $142 million budget shortfall last November, refused to raise taxes, and created his controversial fund.

Although contributions to Huckabee's fund quickly stalled at about a thousand bucks, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer group that opposes federal and state tax increases, voted Huckabee as its "Friend of the Taxpayer" for December.

"Gov. Huckabee clearly possesses the courage to act upon his convictions," said Grover Norquist, ATR president. "I commend Gov. Huckabee for the choice he has given the taxpayers of Arkansas: Contribute additional income to the Tax Me More Fund or don't.

"In the meantime, the government will cut spending. State government officials across the nation should take note of Gov. Huckabee's example of how to handle a spending shortfall."

Huckabee's penchant for straight talk and cutting to the chase did not begin and end with his uncompromising no-new-taxes stance.

In 1997 pro-life Huckabee signed a ban that called for doctors who perform partial-birth abortions to be punished with jail time, up to six years. At the time Arkansas was only the fifth state to ban the procedure, except when a woman's life is endangered.

During the historic 2000 elections, Mike Huckabee announced before a national radio audience that voter fraud by Democrat election officials might rob Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush of a victory in Arkansas.

He likened Arkansas to a "banana republic," which required close scrutiny of voting practices to ensure that elections were fair.

In 1999 Huckabee, an avid hunter and Second Amendment proponent, signed into law an act prohibiting Arkansas' local governments from suing firearms manufacturers seeking compensation for injuries and deaths resulting from the illegal use of these companies' products.

When pressured to jump aboard a gun control "Code of Conduct," Huckabee did not mince words: "[D]ictating how many guns a purchaser is allowed to take home on one day, banning sales at gun shows and prohibiting a minor from even entering a gun store without a parent or guardian are part of a political agenda, not a push for 'gun safety.'"

Inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2000, Huckabee ensures that his press releases often stray from the pragmatics of his office to such woodsy snippets as: "While hunting near Mountain View on Saturday morning, Gov. Mike Huckabee shot a 23-pound turkey with an 11.5-inch beard and 7/8-inch spurs …."

Not that Huckabee leaves his political agenda behind while wandering in the woods. On a recent Saturday morning he was off on a duck hunt in northeast Arkansas with fellow governor and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia.

And again those folksy elements of the typical Huckabee press release: "First lady Janet Huckabee of Arkansas and first lady Cathy Keating of Oklahoma also will join the hunting party. All of the participants in the hunting party will be shooting the special ‘Gov. Huckabee edition' 12-gauge shotgun shells from Remington Arms Co. of Lonoke and wearing Arkansas-made Natgear camouflage jackets …."

When not mucking through the woods, Huckabee strikes visible poses as, for example, with his chairmanship of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, where he is scheduled to make the keynote address in March.

The busy governor is chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board, past chairman of the Southern Governors Association and serves on the executive committee of the National Governors Association.

Formerly a Baptist pastor for more than a decade, Huckabee was right at home leading an emotional memorial service for Sept. 11 victims in Little Rock recently.

Up for re-election in 2002, Arkansas' 44th governor maintains that accomplishments, not grandstanding, will see him through:

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Unlike Huckabee, however, who by executive order created a fund where under-taxed people can donate to the government, the conservative lawmakers in Kansas intend to introduce legislation creating their fund. One of the sponsors, Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, said, ...
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Tuesday, 22 January 2002 12:00 AM
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