While Jeb Bush indicated his wife no longer opposes a presidential run, fiscal conservative activist Grover Norquist remains unconvinced, reports Politico.
While he has alienated some conservatives with his positions on education and immigration policy, it is Bush's willingness to increase taxes that has Norquist concerned.
"Mind-boggling," the head of Americans for Tax Reform told Politico.
"If my father had thrown away a perfectly good presidency by raising taxes, I think one of the things in life that I would learn is, 'Don’t do that,'" Norquist said referring to President George H.W. Bush's broken "no new taxes" pledge.
"But here you have Jeb Bush going, ‘I learned nothing from my father’s self-immolation,'" he added.
"Gov. Bush doesn’t support raising taxes. He also doesn’t support doing nothing about the massive national debt that has accumulated as a result of runaway spending and unsustainable entitlement programs. Saddling our children and grandchildren with $18 trillion in debt is not the solution to restoring a strong economy for our nation’s future," Bush spokesman Kristy Campbell told Politico.
While Bush might not favor raising taxes, he has made previous statements expressing a willingness to include increases as part of broader deficit reduction plan.
In response to a question posed during a 2012 hearing of the House Budget Committee, Bush said he could contemplate backing a plan that included a $1 tax increase for every $10 in spending cuts.
"If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we’re going to have $10 in spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement —
put me in, coach," Bush said, according to a 2012 Bloomberg News report.
"This will prove I’m not running for anything," added Bush. Committee chairman Paul Ryan, who ruled out any inclusion of tax increases in the budget deal being debated at the time, declined to comment on Bush's remarks.
In 2013, Bush reiterated
his openness to a deal which included tax increases in an interview on NBC's "Today" show.
While Bush said he did not think it was time for tax increases, when host Matt Lauer asked if there was any "wiggle room" for increases, he responded, "There may be [room for revenue] if the president is sincere about dealing with our structural problems."
While in Washington for the Budget Committee hearing, Bush also defended his opposition to Norquist's anti-tax pledge, saying he did not "believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people."
He expressed "respect" for "Grover’s political involvement," but said he would not sign the pledge.
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