State Senator Mimi Walters Breaks Tax Pledge with $2.3 Billion Tax Vote

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Blog, California Politics, Featured Post | 0 comments

State Senator Mimi Walters Breaks Tax Pledge with $2.3 Billion Tax Vote

Last month, State Senator Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, voted for a $2.3 billion tax extension. While Sacramento commonly continues temporary taxes, rarely does it include Republican votes. Walters’ vote was especially surprising, given her repeated anti-tax promises and “unwavering commitment to taxpayers.”

In January 2007, then-Assemblywoman Mimi Walters succeeded former Assemblyman Ray Haynes as Chair of the Taxpayer Protection Caucus. According to Walters’ press release, “To join the caucus, legislators must sign and keep the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a written commitment to their constituents to ‘oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.’”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, assured the public that the caucus was in good hands.

“Under Assemblywoman Walters’ leadership, the caucus will continue to work and fight for California families and businesses who deserve to keep more of their hard earned money,” Norquist said.

The following year, Walters made her tax record a central part of her campaign against Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu, who Walters attacked as a “liberal.”

“First of all,  I want to assure you all. I took the Taxpayer Protection pledge never to vote for a tax increase,” Walters said at candidate debate sponsored by the California Republican Assembly on January 17, 2008.

In courting the California Republican Assembly at a 2008 county convention, Walters lauded the group for being the conscience of the Republican Party. “It’s groups like the CRA that ensure that our Republican legislators don’t raise taxes,” she said.

The videos weren’t anomalies. Walters’ campaign repeatedly promised voters that she would oppose tax increases. “Send a Tax-Fighter to the State Senate,” reads one Walters’ campaign mailer.  The mailer highlights Walters’ endorsement by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and includes the word “tax” fifteen times.

Mimi Walters Campaign Mailer 2“Taxpayers know Mimi Walters is the stand-up conservative we can trust to protect taxpayers and private property rights,” Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, is quoted in the mailer. “Mimi is one of our best friends in the State Legislature and one of the strongest voices in Sacramento for common sense budgets and smaller government. We need to keep her working for California’s taxpayers.”

In another mailer, Coupal assured voters in the 33rd Senate district, “Taxpayers support Mimi Walters because of common sense conservative approach to state spending and her unwavering commitment to protect us from tax increases.”

That mailer also includes “The Walters Plan to Fix the Budget,” which lists her goal “to stop Sacramento liberals from raising taxes so they can spend more.”

Mimi Walters Mailer 3In 2012, Walters signed Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which promises that the legislator will oppose all efforts to raise taxes.

But, all of that seems to have changed with SB 11. The Senate Republican Caucus’ own analysis identified SB 11 as “the continuation of billions of dollars of vehicle registration fees and tire taxes for eight years.”

Yet, Walters now believes it’s important to “weigh the merits of both sides of an issue.”

“As state senators we often must weigh the merits of both sides of an issue in order to reach a decision that we believe will be best for our great state,” Walters wrote in a blog post at Fox and Hounds. “In many, if not most cases, the legislation before us is far from ideal, but it is often the best that can be achieved with so many political and philosophical beliefs to be considered.”

For its part, Americans for Tax Reform has remained consistent. Patrick Gleason, the director of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform, said that the vote violated the pledge.  “Legislation that would extend a tax scheduled to sunset is a tax increase,” Gleason said in an email.

Walters’ office did not respond to repeated email requests for comment.

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