by Max Brantley
(Bad) Character-laden Tim Griffin is just all over the map on taxes. He was for the "Fair" Tax. Then he was against. Then he was for a flat tax. But he says he's also for preserving the home mortgage interest deduction, which is just the sort of reason why a flat tax is not only regressive, but a non-starter. All the special pleaders like Griffin will want special set-asides that will make the "flat" tax anything but flat. A homeowner with a mortgage will have a lower tax than someone not paying mortgage interest. That ain't flat.
The Joyce Elliott campaign calls Griffin's hand on this. Expect a defense of his flip-floppery and contradictions shortly from his apologists over at the DOG editorial page. Elliott supports the mortgage interest deduction and a progressive income tax.
Griffin, meanwhle, rolls out an an ad in which he dons a hard hat and promises to create jobs by cutting taxes and balancing the budget. Which taxes? Which expenditures? He'll save that for another day, but we already know the millionaires are high on his list of priorities.
ELLIOTT NEWS RELEASE
Tim Griffin has a plan when it comes to explaining his policy on taxes: tell people whatever they want to hear. During his primary race, in a March 29, 2010 interview on KARN radio, Mr. Griffin stated, “I am absolutely committed to the Fair Tax.”
In the candidate forum hosted by the Pulaski County Bar Association on September 17th, Mr. Griffin said he did not support the Fair Tax, rather he supports the Flat Tax. In a campaign press release after the forum, Mr. Griffin announced that he now has a “preference” to “avoid any reform that includes a consumption tax and focus on the flat tax.”
“In March, Mr. Griffin said that he was ‘absolutely committed to the Fair Tax.’ Now he says he is not for a Fair Tax because it includes a consumption tax,” reiterated Marisa Pryor, communications director for Joyce Elliott. “Mr. Griffin has spent 15 years working in Washington or working for Washington D.C. lobbying and political consulting firms. Are voters really supposed to believe he did not know that a Fair Tax plan would impose a 23-30% sales tax? If he didn’t know, then why would he say he was absolutely committed to it? Does Mr. Griffin not know what it means to make an absolute commitment to something?”
On Friday, September 17, Mr. Griffin said he was focused on supporting the Flat Tax. On Tuesday, September 21, at a luncheon hosted by BOMA and the Arkansas Realtors Association, Mr. Griffin pledged his support to protect tax deductions for homeowners. The problem is Mr. Griffin cannot have it both ways. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation says one of the “common features” of all flat tax plans is the elimination of all “special” deductions including the mortgage interest deduction. 1
“Senator Elliott knows that protecting the mortgage interest tax deduction is vital to thousands of Arkansas families, and she has been steadfast in her support of it,” said Pryor. “She would welcome Mr. Griffin’s support in protecting middle class homeowners. However if Mr. Griffin now supports the flat tax, how in the world can he also say he stands with Arkansas relators and middle class homeowners when just this past Friday Mr. Griffin re-affirmed his support for a plan that would repeal the tax deduction for homeowners?”asked Pryor.
Would Mr. Griffin like to simply tell voters where he stands?
“Arkansas voters are smart, hard working and just want a candidate that will be honest with them. Voters want a candidate to stand for something, because they won’t fall for just anything,” concluded Pryor.