Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), spoke to the Florida Center-Right Coalition on Thursday, praising policies embraced by Republicans in Tallahassee and saying that supporters of the free market should not expect much action in Washington D.C. over the next two years.
With Democrats now controlling the U.S. House, Norquist said Republicans on Capitol Hill had to oppose them on a host of fronts, including efforts to raise the income tax and to raise the corporate tax rate. Norquist slammed U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, D-NY, call to raise the highest tax rate to 70 percent, noting that even European counties do not tax at that level. Weighing in on corporate taxes, Norquist said congressional Republicans had to ensure that Democrats do not raise the current rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. Norquist also said Democrats share some of the blame recent stock market fluctuations as investors are worried about what will happen now that the House is no longer under Republican control.
Norquist also warned that House Democrats would push a carbon tax bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., last month, saying that it would have a drastic impact on the economy if enacted.
“According to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, a $25 per ton carbon tax increasing by two percent per year adds up to a total net tax increase of $1.1 trillion,” ATR noted last month. “The Deutch bill hits the $25 per ton mark in year two, and increases by $10 per year, which means the $1 trillion tax hike estimate is a lowball estimate. In reality the net tax hike would be significantly higher. The carbon tax bill is a massive and continually ratcheting national energy tax. It allows politicians to raise taxes in the future without ever having to vote. Just as the French carbon tax law grows more oppressive with time, within five years the Deutch bill would automatically rise to $55 per ton. For reference, the carbon tax handily rejected by blue Washington state voters in November started at $15 and ratcheted up by $2 per year.”
Norquist also jabbed U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., for cosponsoring Deutch’s bill.
“Rooney is making a huge mistake,” Norquist told Sunshine State News. “He’s giving credibility to the bill.
“It’s not just bad economics,” he added, noting that taxes on energy generally impact lower and middle class taxpayers far more than the wealthy. “If I was a congressman from Naples, I would not be pushing a tax on the middle class.”
While Norquist did not expect much from Washington, he praised GOP controlled states across the nation. Turning to state issues, Norquist noted that Florida was continuing to gain at the expense of states with higher taxes and he praised the efforts from Republicans like former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Gov. Rick Scott on school choice and building a good business climate in the Sunshine State.
Speaking to Sunshine State News after his presentation, Norquist said school choice has helped Florida’s economy boom in recent years.
“Florida is a pioneer on school choice,” he said.
Norquist pointed to reports that enough African-American voters supported school choice to help DeSantis beat Democrat Andrew Gillum in the general election in November. Weighing in on other states, Norquist said that African American voters might not support Republicans wanting to implement school choice measures but they will oppose Democrats who try to take them away once they are enacted.
While Norquist expressed great hope for new Gov. Ron DeSantis, especially his commitment to school choice, he warned Florida that other states--including Texas, Oklahoma and the Carolinas--will be increasingly competitive thanks in part, to new Republicans serving as governors and in key legislative leadership posts. Norquist also told Sunshine State News that he was optimistic about new state House Speaker Jose Oliva’s, R-Hialeah, health-care agenda.