Nye questions Rigell’s commitment to tax pledge

Yesterday, after my podcast with Congressman Glenn Nye, he posed a question to me:

“I find it interesting that Scott claims he’s against any tax increase, as he pledged to the Hampton Roads Tea Party, yet he gave $10,000 in support of the 2002 Tax Referendum which would have raised taxes on transportation in Hampton Roads.”

Fair question. So, I asked both the Rigell campaign and Karen Hurd, head of the Hampton Roads Tea Party, for their thoughts on the subject.

Hurd said:

“Rigell did indeed give $10,000 to raise the sales tax in the YES Campaign in 2002. Now, 8 years later, he is on record with the Pledge to the People of the Second District to not raise taxes. Given the American public’s abhorrence of increased taxes, and Rigell’s repeated statements that he is opposed to tax increases across the board, the Hampton Roads Tea Party fully expects him to follow through on his pledge. If for some reason he fails to uphold his pledge, we will hold him accountable.”

As the Hampton Roads Tea Party should.

I must say, though, that almost sounds like an endorsement. Nowhere in the statement does it offer a caveat of “if Rigell is elected”, or something of that effect. It almost reads to me like it’s a forgone conclusion that Rigell is going to be the Congressman representing the 2nd Distirct, but I digress.

The bottom-line for the Tea Party is that they have one candidate who has pledged not to raise taxes. That candidate is not Glenn Nye.

Of course, the Rigell camp will parse the donation a little. They say that it was Rigell’s company, not Rigell himself who gave the money to the campaign.

Jason Miyares, campaign manager, was a bit more emphatic (his bold, not mine):

It should be pointed out that Scott Rigell never personally donated to the YES Campaign, but one of his dealerships, of which he was not the sole owner at the time, did donate.

The bottom line is that Scott Rigell is the only candidate in this race who has signed a pledge never to raise taxes. He signed the Americans for Tax Reform “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” and the no new taxes pledge was included in his Pledge to the People of the Second District. There is one candidate in this race who has voted for a $9.7 Billion tax increase on American businesses during a recession; that candidate is Democrat Glenn Nye. Raising taxes on American businesses is not the key to our economic recovery, and Glenn Nye’s re-election means he will once again vote to make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House. Under her leadership we have seen over $3 trillion added to the national debt in less than 18 months, massive increases on taxes and regulation on our small business entrepreneurs, and a government take-over of our health care system. It is clear that the American people cannot afford another two years of a Pelosi/Nye Congress.

So, now that we see the response from the Tea Party and the Rigell campaign, I pose this question to Congressman Nye:

I share and appreciate your concern for possible tax increases, and appreciate your coming out in favor to extend the Bush Tax Cuts; but, in your asking me this question yesterday, does this mean you’re prepared to also sign the Americans for Tax Reform “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” or the Hampton Roads Tea Party pledge? After all, if you’re committed to not raising taxes, signing the pledge should be rather easy.


Are you saying that raising taxes is inevitable, no matter who is elected? In your opinion, do you see it as highly likely that taxes will have to be raised during the next congress, meaning you’re predisposed to doing so?

Methinks the Congressman doth protest too much – and it is a bit revealing.

  • Mike Barrett

    I agree this is a false premis. Any candidate that would pledge not to raise taxes is unfit for office. What we elect is a representative to do the people’s business. Had Rigell been in office last time, and had TARP been defeated, we would be in a depression; that is not opinion, but fact. Rigell’s pandering to the tea party is frankly, disgusting. There will be times when a tax increase is important to the national security and the national interest. No candidate can see the future, and to tie ones hands is an indication of a small mind.

  • LC

    I think JR has a great point. Why won’t Glenn Nye sign a pledge not to raise taxes?!? His true colors are coming out, despite his best efforts to hide them.

    BTW, you know who voted FOR the YES Campaign bill at the time? A guy who was then-Delegate, and now-Governor…none other than Bob McDonnell. It would be tough to find a stronger conservative than our very popular Governor. So, a donation to the YES campaign doesn’t bother me.

    In addition, it should be emphasized that Rigell didn’t donate to the YES campaign. Look it up in vpap.org. You won’t find it because it isn’t there. Scott Rigell’s business, which he apparently didn’t own fully at the time, made the donation.

  • Bryan Stuart

    I agree, why won’t Nye agree to sign a pledge, put it in writing, not to raise taxes?

    The fact Scott Rigell will put it in writing so he can be held accountable to voters, and Glenn Nye refuses to pledge not to raise taxes, speaks volumes.

    Besides, at the end of the day, the single most important vote that Glenn Nye will make is for the Speaker of the House. Nye will vote for Pelosi once again to be Speaker, Scott Rigell won’t. Makes it easy to me.

  • Mike Barrett

    The refusal of the House of Delegates to keep the gas tax at the rate set in 1986, and the subsequent slow and steady disintegration of that system, to the effect that the Navy has now threatened to move assets away, is the best indication of why signing a no tax pledge is irresponsible and in my view, a disqualification for any responsible elected official.

  • Mike Barrett

    It should read, the refusal of the House of Delegates to raise the gas tax from the rate set in 1986. Sorry.

  • Brad Martin

    Mike, please quit telling what would have happened if TARP had not been passed. And don’t insult our intelligence by telling us your prognostication “is not opinion, but fact”. It is nothing but opinion and guesswork and you trying to make political hay.

    Bryan and JR, Nye won’t sign a pledge. Lest you forget, Nye called Rigell’s signing of the Tea Party Pledge “meaningless”.

    Unenforceable? You bet. But meaningless? Not a chance. It is disappointing and revealing that our elected Representative views a written pledge to constituents with such disdain.

  • Charlie Boone

    How absurd that Rigell’s commitment to lower taxes should be called into question. As a lifelong Republican and a prominent business leader, he knows and believes in the importance of a low tax burden on both our families and our businesses. Who do you trust more with ensuring that your hard earned money stays in your pocket, a long time fiscal conservative with a personal business and political ideology that both shout for lower taxes, or a career government worker who has never created a job or run a business in his life? The choice should be clear.

  • Will White

    It is amazing to me that the Democrats keep talking about this being a bad political climate for them.Well hello you Democrats created this bad political climate all by yourselves.Tom Perriello is talking about how bad NAFTA is but he never mentions that the Democrats are the ones who passed it.

  • Mike Barrett

    Well Charlie, I believe in low taxes too, but you confuse Rigell and the republican party with those who support the corollary; that is, low expenditures. For eight years they refused to balance the budget; instead, they created trillions of national debt. The fact that once elected, Bush republicans promptly forgot expenditure control, and cut taxes but not expenses, cannot be forgotten.

  • Will White

    Mike you seem to overlook the fact that Obama has raised the national debt limit so he could continue his spending spree.

  • Mike Barrett

    No Will, I agree that deficit spending continued so that the effect of the Great Recession could be reduced and turned around. Every economist I have read agrees that to prevent a depression, government must spend in the short term; the key is to know when to shift back to deficit reduction. I want that to happen as soon as it can, and I think Congressman Nye would agree with that. The newly minted Rigell however, by signing the no tax pledge, has guaranteed that in a crisis, he can’t act. That is simply irresponsible.

  • Jay D

    @JR ~ In this case, Nye’s non-signature may simply indicate a higher level of intelligence, comprehension, and acumen.

    The Tea Party Pledge #3: ” (I pledge) …To promote the economic wellbeing of American families and businesses by voting against any tax or fee increase.

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Bill) included some $300 billion in tax relief. Lawmakers’ utilization of tax credits to deliver cash benefits is a newer, less politically dangerous, and rapidly growing alternative approach to ‘spending programs’, but it nets the same result. Any representative (or candidate) that signs this pledge (and keeps it), delivers de facto safe harbor to IRS source benefits/spending. By definition, any cutback of an existing tax credit is … a tax increase to recipients of the deductions (or outright cash pay-outs).

    Does Scott not see this? Does he understand the document he signed? This is but one of the several pitfalls I see in this well-intentioned, but poorly executed, no-tax pledge.

  • LittleDavid

    Perhaps Glenn Nye will not sign such a pledge because he would agree to an increase in the fuel tax over toll roads to fund our transportation improvements? I do not know, but I can hope.

    Most business people are smart enough to know that if increased revenue is needed, increasing the fuel tax is the way to go. I guess that might be part of the reason Glenn has been endorsed not only by the Chamber of Commerce but by the National Federation of Independent Business. If we are going to maintain let alone improve our highway infrastructure we are going to have to increase revenue. If we are not going to do it with taxes then we will be forced to do it with tolls and that is foolish since it comes with needless overhead expenses.

    If the Virginia Trucking Association did endorsements (they don’t) they’d be forced to endorse Glenn Nye. Back when Rigell was a businessman, he supported business interest propositions. When he became a politician, he signed the Tea Party pledge.

  • I have to agree with Mike Barrett on at least one thing: signing a “pledge” of “I will never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever vote to raise any tax or fee of any kind for anything or for any purpose” is extremely irresponsible and pandering to the lowest common denonimator of the worst sort.

    On the other hand, the “VOTE YES” was a referendum voted on by the people. There is abosolutely nothing wrong with that, nor with Rigell or his company taking an advocacy role in that campaign. It’s his right to do so.

    Frankly, I am still scratching my head over the Virginia system of not ear-marking the gas tax for transportation as they do in many other states. (I am most familiar with Missouri. In that state, gas taxes or any taxes at any level of government over and above the rate of inflation requires a public vote. It’s called the Hancock Amendment.) The only FAIR way to pay for transportation improvements is through the gas tax increase. No silly tricks like selling off the ABC Stores (though I am fully in support of privitization if they can every figure out what they’re doing.)

    I still can’t believe that the “repeal the car tax” was such a popular plank in Gilmore’s platform. Where did people think local governments, particularly schools, were going to replace that money from? Property taxes, of course. The whole thing was a sham, i.e., people who OWN property. Not renters.

    OK, enough soap box for now.

  • Mike Barrett

    Yes Craig, that gets to my basic view of Rigell’s candidacy. To me, he had always been a moderate, cetrist oriented business republican, a person I could support. Regretfully, he could not run nor win the nomination with this pragmatic, common sense approach. To be a republican candidate today one must be an extreme ideologue, an obstructionist, and radical who questions Jefferson on the separation of church and state. What gibberish, and what damage has ensued in the Bush years, and will ensure if they get back in power. Nye, while fiscally conservative and independent, will be a voice for reason and a pragmatic businees approach, just like Rigell was in his better days.

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