Jeb Bush will refuse to sign tax pledges: spokeswoman

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 28, 2015 6:35 PM

By Steve Holland

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Reuters) - Jeb Bush will not sign any "no new taxes" pledges or any other pledges if he decides to seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, a spokeswoman said on Saturday.

The statement from Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell was in response to an appeal from anti-tax champion Grover Norquist for Bush to sign his Taxpayers Protection Pledge, in which candidates agree to oppose tax increases.

"If Governor Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups," Campbell said in a statement. "His record on tax cuts is clear. He didn't raise taxes."

Bush's opposition to such pledges is longstanding. He did not sign such pledges in any of his three previous campaigns for Florida governor, an aide said.

His father, former President George H.W. Bush, was defeated for re-election in 1992 after disappointing Republicans by breaking his "read my lips-no new taxes" pledge as part of a 1990 budget agreement.

Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, had told ABC News he believed Jeb Bush would eventually sign the pledge.

"Most pledge takers keep the pledge," Norquist said in a tweet in response to Bush's decision. "Those who refuse to sign all raise taxes when pushed hard enough by spenders."

Campbell said Bush, who was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, has a strong record against tax increases.

"He cut them every year as governor for a total of more than $19 billion in tax relief. He does not support raising taxes and believes cutting taxes and reforming the tax code will lead to greater economic growth and more prosperity for Americans."

Norquist has praised Bush in the past, telling The Palm Beach Post in 2006 that he was "the best governor in America."

Bush, whose brother George W. Bush also served as president, has not yet formally entered the race but is a front-runner in the early weeks of the competition to be the Republican candidate for the 2016 White House race.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Frances Kerry)