This is interesting. The Elliott campaign says Tim Griffin has done a 180 on the Fair Tax, the punishing 30 percent sales tax that would be a gift to billionaires, a devastating lick to the poor and middle class.
Today, Elliott quotes Griffin as saying at a candidate forum he did not support the Fair Tax. He would join Elliott in that position.
He couldn't have endorsed it more enthusiastically in this interview recorded on KARN, house radio for right-wing Republicans. Perhaps he thought only Republicans were listening.
The Elliott campaign comments below.
I have a question in to the Griffin campaign to see if he was for it before he was against it; still for it, or what? I suspect he's merely tailoring his message to his far more moderate general election audience, which raises the core question: Does Tim "Cager" Griffin have a core?
UPDATE: Sorry, I just couldn't add the Griffin response from Quigley-Cox Stadium via iPhone. (Tigers gave Pine Bluff a scare before losing 28-21 before a large crowd.) Anyway, Griffin indeed admits he flip-flopped. Obviously, he doesn't characterize it that way, except in the essentials. My bet is with more "homework," and the right crowd to pitch to (like a Tea Party driven GOP House caucus), he'd be right back with the Fair Tax crowd when it suited. His strain to explain is on the jump.
NEWS RELEASE FROM JOYCE ELLIOTT
Today, in the candidate forum hosted by the Pulaski County Bar association, Mr. Griffin said he does not support the Fair Tax Initiative contradicting his previous public statements of support for the Fair Tax.
In an interview on KARN on March 29, 2010, Mr. Griffin stated, “I am absolutely committed to the Fair Tax.” (KARN 3/29/10) Was Mr. Griffin clearly saying one thing to win the primary and then reversing course today? Or does he support a plan that would hurt thousands of middle class families in Arkansas?
“Let me first say, that I applaud the tone and civility of my opponent and value our cordial interactions on the campaign trail. I also believe that it is fair to hold Mr. Griffin accountable to his record,” said Joyce Elliott, candidate for U.S. Congress in Arkansas’s 2nd District.
“There is nothing ‘fair’ about imposing a 30% sales tax on middle class families and retirees. If Mr. Griffin supports that idea and has expressed his support for it in the past, I think it is vital that the voters of Arkansas know about it,” concluded Elliott.
“Senator Joyce Elliott has always been a champion for retirees, small businesses, and the middle class in Arkansas. As a mother and teacher, Joyce understands what it is like to work hard to make ends meet. She knows we cannot afford to put a heavy burden on the working class in Arkansas, ” said spokesperson Marisa Pryor.
“Many Arkansans are frustrated about the state of the economy and are looking for solutions to better Arkansas and the country as a whole. However, the Fair Tax initiative is not the solution to our problems. Arkansas’s retirees, small businesses and middle class families cannot afford such a drastic increase when most are doing all they can to stay afloat during these tough economic times,” concluded Pryor.
Ramesh Ponnuru: Retirees Would Be Hard Hit by Fair Tax
“Several groups of people would be adversely affected by the tax. Retirees, for example, have paid taxes on their wages during their working lives. After a FairTax was implemented, they would find themselves also having to pay higher taxes on everything they used their accumulated savings to buy. The value of non-retirees’ accumulated savings would drop, too.” [National Review, 3/22/10]
*Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review and a columnist for Time
Rich Lowry: Fair Tax Would Raise Taxes on Middle Class
“The tax would apply to everything, even medical expenses - so it would amount to an incredibly regressive tax on even the most necessary purchases of low- and middle-income taxpayers. The home-mortgage deduction would be gone; buyers would pay a 30 percent (at least) tax on their homes.” [New York Post, 12/4/07]
*Editor, National Review
Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy: Very Large Tax Hike on Middle Class
“Under current law, federal income and estate taxes are progressive. That means that taxpayers with high incomes pay a larger share of their incomes in taxes than do middle- and low-income taxpayers. A national sales tax would be exactly the opposite. It would take a much higher share of the earnings of low- and middle-income families than the wealthy would have to pay. That’s because most Americans must spend most or all of their incomes to make ends meet, while better-off people can afford to spend a much lower share of their incomes… As a result, replacing most federal taxes with a national sales tax would mean very large tax increases on most Americans and very large tax cuts for the wealthy.” [Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, 9/2004]
Bush Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform: 80% of Americans Would Have Tax Burden Doubled; Top 20% Would See Taxes Cut
“Replacing the current income tax with a stand-alone retail sales tax would increase the tax burden on the lower 80 percent of American families, as ranked by cash income, by approximately $250 billion per year. Such families would pay 34.9 percent of all federal retail sales taxes, more than double the 15.8 percent of federal income taxes they pay today. The top 20 percent of American taxpayers would see their tax burden fall by approximately $250 billion per year. Such families would pay 65.1 percent of all federal retail sales taxes, compared to the 84.2 percent of federal income taxes they pay today.” [President Bush’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, 2005]
NEWS RELEASE FROM TIM GRIFFIN
LITTLE ROCK —Second District Congressional candidate, U.S. Army Reservist and former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin today issued the following statement on reforming the federal income tax system and refuting an erroneous attack by his opponent:
"I have been and continue to be committed to tax reform that lowers taxes for every American. The audio cited by my opponent's campaign makes clear that I was open to considering a number of tax-cutting options and remain so. The more I learned about the so-called fair tax plan, the less I liked it. I did my homework. I will do my homework in Congress too. And unlike my opponent, who is looking for ways to raise taxes, I am looking for ways to cut taxes.
"My preference is to avoid any reform that includes a consumption tax and focus on the flat income tax with a lower overall burden because I believe it is better for the economy and private sector job creation. Regardless of how we reform our tax system, one thing is clear: my opponent never misses the opportunity to tax Arkansans, including voting against tax breaks for elderly or disabled Arkansas veterans."
In 2005, Joyce Elliott was one of only seven members to vote against a bill that would allow a property tax rebate of up to $300 for elderly or disabled veterans who own their own homes and earn less than $30,000. (H.B. 1927, 85th Arkansas General Assembly, 3/16/2005)