Finance

Norquist: Huckabee OK on taxes

Mike Huckabee isn't exactly putting pen to paper on Americans for Tax Reform's anti-tax pledge - but Grover Norquist says Huckabee's vow to oppose any tax increase is more than sufficient.

Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, insisted Thursday he would only sign one pledge in his campaign for the GOP's 2016 nomination - his "pledge to the people," containing 17 different planks ranging from ObamaCare repeal to opposing same-sex marriage.

One of the 17 planks stresses that Huckabee "will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes."

That also happens to be the same exact language as what's contained the ATR pledge signed by GOP presidential hopefuls like Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.).

In a statement, Norquist praised Huckabee, saying "his public commitment makes it clear that he will fight to reform government to cost less rather than paper over and continue past failures with higher taxes."

Huckabee has specifically proposed a national sales tax, known as the Fair Tax, that would eliminate the income tax. Critics say a national sales tax would heap more of the tax burden onto the poor, but Huckabee says scrapping the income tax would allow the U.S. to get rid of the IRS.

But while Huckabee has Norquist's blessing, not all groups on the right are fans of the former governor. The Club for Growth, a longtime foe of Huckabee's, has already started running advertisements in early-voting states saying that Huckabee has not been upfront about his record as a tax hiker.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is one of the few GOP hopefuls right now who has said he won't sign ATR's pledge.

Bush and Norquist have had a testy relationship at times. Norquist has sharply criticized Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, for signing a deficit deal that raised taxes.

Jeb Bush, meanwhile, has downplayed the ATR pledge, even as he plugs his record as a tax-cutter.

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