Excerpts from a Monitor breakfast on tax cuts.
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform. Before founding that group in 1985, he served as executive director of the College Republicans, executive director of the National Taxpayers' Union, and economist and chief speechwriter for the US Chamber of Commerce. Since 1993, he has hosted weekly meetings of conservative activists which have been called "the Grand Central Station of the conservative movement." The Democratic Leadership Committee magazine "Blueprint" recently said, "Thanks to the strength of his conservative network and the weakness of the Bush economic team, Norquist has become, in many respects, the most potent influence on the administration's economic plan..."
"Yes, there will be a tax cut every year Bush is president...Taxpayers do not reward you for your tax cut of last year. They want to know next year's tax cut. The only way to prove you will continue to do tax cuts after the next election is to do one every year now. The tax cut will be the retirement savings account, lifetime savings account that the Treasury Department put out last January...Secondly, there will be extension of all the present tax cuts. And then thirdly, there will be a straight up and down vote on the death tax and then fourth, something on expensing. ...[deducting immediately, as opposed to gradually, the cost of an investment.]"
"The Republican party had better have something ready other than tort reform - which is important - something that can pass that deals with manufacturing and that's expensing. And the Democrats have all endorsed expensing in the past. It is not a partisan issue...they can't argue it is a bad idea. They offered it to us in '81."
"One challenge for the Republican party and the conservative movement is to come up with something on spending that is the equivalent of (our position on cutting) taxes and if anyone has any recommendations, I am open....What we will do is a announce in January that we will push for term-limiting all appropriations committee members if the appropriators do not live within their budgets....Next November we will move at least in the House if not in the Senate to say you can only be an appropriator for six years and then you are out just like the Budget Committee. That I think could be the beginning if discipline at the national level...
"There are three parties in Washington, D.C. - Republicans, Democrats, and appropriators. We need a two-party system, not a three-party system..."
"If he raises taxes, it significantly diminishes his role as a national player. Then he is a California politician who lied his way into office. There are several governors like that. They are still getting invited out to dinner but they are not national leaders. ...If he keeps his word on taxes - and passes a ...tax and spending limitation measure, (then he could be) the second most popular and powerful Republican in the country."
"The one soft underbelly in what I view as Republican dominance in the country is if we are seen as hostile to immigrants and immigration....The challenge is the immigrant community - not just the Mexicans but the secondary immigrant communities - Cubans, Filipinos, Iranians, Eastern Europeans, various Central Americans.... if we slipped on that, I could see that causing a problem."
"...it is not a vote-moving, people-threatening issue."