Photo: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)
As Indiana lawmakers prepare to discuss the nation’s budget woes in the next Congress, some may have to grapple with a pledge they signed vowing not to raise taxes. For some the pledges are a matter of semantics. For others, they are seen as an albatross.
When she is inaugurated in January, 5th District Congresswoman-elect Susan Brooks will begin her first year in the House. She says she’s stayed away from signing pledges of any kind during her campaign because she worried about tying her hands in any negotiation she might enter.
“Just felt that I really wanted to have the freedom and the flexibility to make sure I studied the bill, read the bill and voted on the bill at the time it was presented,” Brooks says.
The pledge most Indiana Congressmen have signed is a document written by anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist which says signatories will never vote to raise taxes.
Fourth District Congressman Todd Rokita signed the pledge when he was still Indiana’s Secretary of State and says he does not believe it forbids him from doing the kind of work his constituents want him to do. What’s more, Rokita says if Bush Administration tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of the year, he does not believe that breaks his pledge, even though taxes would go up for some Americans.
“If they’re simply allowed to expire, to answer your question, I don’t think that’s a violation of a pledge,” Rokita says. “I think I have to do some kind of affirmative action in furtherance of raising people’s taxes. And I don’t consider simple expiration doing that.”
Brooks and 2nd District Representative-elect Jackie Walorski are the only two Republicans representing Indiana in Washington who have not inked Norquist’s pledge.