October 18, 2005

No-Tax Pledge Bites the Dust in Utah

Provo, Utah will have a mayoral election in November, and (this being Provo, Utah) the debate on tax policy there is so far revolving entirely around whether candidates should promise to never, ever raise taxes. As the Deseret News tells it, challenger Dave Bailey has no problems making such a promise, while incumbent Lewis Billings has given it some more thought:

While Bailey pledged not to raise taxes — "Yes, I can guarantee you I won't raise taxes. It's a horribly unpopular thing to do" — Billings called taking such a position "impractical." Billings hasn't raised any taxes during his eight years in office but said he couldn't swear "on a Bible" that it wouldn't be necessary in the future.
"It would be impractical for any politician or government leader to say so," he said.

Kudos to Billings for saying exactly the right thing about the no-tax pledge.
RE the other guy, I don't know what's worse, Bailey's reflexive willingness to completely abandon half of the fiscal policy options he'd have available to him as mayor, or his reason for doing so. Fun exercise: try dropping the phrase 'raise taxes' from that quote and substitute some other basic function of government.

Example: "Yes, I can guarantee you I won't protect the first amendment rights of flag-burners. It's a horribly unpopular thing to do."

Fun for the whole family...