Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley recently made headlines by openly calling for tax hikes, a rare move for a Republican, particularly in the staunchly conservative Yellowhammer State.
After months of hinting at his “revenue raising” proposal, Bentley late last week flat out told the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), “We are going to raise taxes… After four years of saying we’re not raising taxes, and we have not, I’m telling you, for the next four years we are going to raise taxes.”
But raising taxes is precisely what Bentley promised during his re-election campaign that he would not do. In fact, at the time of this post, the governor’s campaign team still has not taken the “No New Taxes” promise off of his website, leaving blatant evidence that his recent actions stand in stark contrast to his campaign promises.
“More Jobs. Less Government. No New Taxes,” says the banner at the top of Bentley’s re-election site, a screenshot of which can be seen above. (Editor’s note: Yellowhammer highlighted the “No New Taxes” part.)
Public trust in government continues to hover near historic lows, and Alabama-based, New York Times bestselling author Andy Andrews says he believes it has a lot to do with politicians becoming more and more willing to outright lie.
“Our nation is at a tipping point,” said Andrews. “Frankly, I believe candidates from both parties have lied to the American people. Furthermore, I believe that many are slipping dangerously close to creating a habit of lying and rationalizing that their purpose in doing so is for their own good.”
In his 2012 book titled “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” Andrews uses the horrific example of Nazi Germany to illustrate what can happen when the electorate disengages and become “sheeplike in following their leadership.”
“The question every American should be asking is, ‘What is our standard for being led?’” Andrews said. “We need to think about that in earnest, because that one question will lead us to common ground… The main purpose of this book is to find that one universal theme we can all agree on: Our politicians must not lie to us, anymore. And we build from there.”
Bentley’s promises not to raise taxes extend all the way back to his first run for governor.
During a 2010 gubernatorial campaign debate, then-State Rep. Bentley said “I am not for raising taxes,” citing tax hikes’ negative impact on businesses. “When you hurt businesses and you tax businesses, you’re going to lose jobs and we need to be creating jobs,” he said. He then went a step further and signed Americans for Tax Reform’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” committing himself in writing to opposing all tax increases as governor.
“The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is purposefully clear and free of weasel words,” America’s for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist told Yellowhammer. “No tax increase means no tax increase by any means. In other states politicians have tried to define various tax increases as something other than tax increases. Ask the taxpayers…do they view changes in the tax code to take more of their money as a tax hike or not? The Alabama Governor was elected after promising the people of Alabama he would not raise their taxes.”
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014