Today Doug Burgum’s campaign announced that they signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge from Grover Norquist’s organization Americans for Tax Reform.
You can see the signed pledge before. “It is important that voters know unequivocally that as governor I will never raise taxes. I am proud to be the first candidate in this campaign to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” Burgum said in a press release. “We can solve our current budget challenges by reining in our spending and right-sizing state government, and I urge Wayne Stenehjem to join me in signing the pledge to give certainty to taxpayers that they will be protected. There is simply no legitimate excuse for not signing if Wayne is serious about never raising taxes.”
This isn’t exactly staking out new policy territory for Burgum, though. He signed a similar pledge shortly before the NDGOP convention last month, where he took 3rd place in the gubernatorial contest behind state Rep. Rick Becker and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]“It is important that voters know unequivocally that as governor I will never raise taxes. I am proud to be the first candidate in this campaign to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” Burgum said in a press release.[/mks_pullquote]
Becker signed the pre-convention pledge, but Stenehjem did not saying he doesn’t need to sign pledges. “Since his announcement on November 24, Wayne has been clear and on record that he will not support any tax increase as governor, plain and simple,” Nate Martindale, campaign manager for the Stenehjem Campaign, told me of that pledge. “Wayne does not need to sign a pledge, he has already pledged to the people of North Dakota at district conventions, debate, and in the media he will not support any tax increase.”
I’m guessing Stenehjem won’t be signing the ATR pledge either.
If a candidate is already on the record saying they won’t raise taxes I’m not sure what signing a pledge stating the same thing accomplishes. Either you trust what a candidate says about tax policy, pledge or no pledge, or you do not.
Besides, given the specifics of North Dakota’s fiscal situation, these state-level pledges not to raise taxes may be pointless. As Democratic candidate Marvin Nelson has pointed out, given the amount of local spending the state has moved into the state budget during past bienniums, if the state starts cutting spending now where we’ll feel it is in our property/local taxes.
Here’s Burgum’s pledge.
[scribd id=312396385 key=key-sAXWgJ96droY594j0OQE mode=scroll]