PHILADELPHIA – Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist told PJM that he has not received the signed anti-tax pledge from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
ATR encourages state and federal elected officials to sign the taxpayer protection pledge as a commitment to not raise taxes in office.
“His [then] campaign manager Corey Lewandowski sent an email saying he has signed it and he would get it over to me, but then they had changes over there. So I have been told it has been signed over there but I don’t have it,” Norquist told PJM at the RNC’s headquarters during the Democratic National Convention.
“Until we have it and put it online it is not signed – privately signed doesn’t count. At some point, it will be publicly signed. He may have his own timetable. The other piece to this is that he has publicly stated in TIME magazine and other places never ever would he agree to a tax increase,” he added.
Norquist applauded Trump’s tax plan and said the criticism of the proposal has been that it cuts taxes too much.
“Not my criticism, other people’s criticism; it is a tremendous pro-growth tax policy. It takes the corporate rate from 35 percent to 15 percent – that makes us better than China, better than Canada…better than anybody in Europe, a little bit behind Ireland, but right now we are at 35, we are dead last,” he said. “We are the worst country in the world to do business in because of our corporate income tax and getting that down to 15 is huge, huge, huge.”
Norquist said Trump’s tax plan would not benefit the wealthy more than the middle class or low-income individuals.
“No, because there are people in the lower middle income area that go from paying taxes to zero. That’s an infinite change and somebody in a higher income bracket could see a reduction in their marginal tax rate, but they were talking about taking it from 43 down to 30 or something,” he said. “It’s on a dollar amount somebody who is paying an awful lot looks like they are getting a big dollar amount, but as a percentage of their income or their tax liability it’s not larger than anybody else.”
Norquist said Democrats said former President Reagan’s tax plan benefited upper-income individuals because it included a 25 percent “marginal tax cut across the board.”
“It’s an across-the-board tax cut that’s good for everybody,” he said, referencing Trump’s plan. “The Democrats always complain of any tax cut that it’s a tax cut for the rich, but when they put in taxes they tax gasoline, which is a tax increase disproportionately on lower-income people.”
Norquist criticized Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, for raising taxes as governor of Virginia.
“He raised taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, cars, gasoline – all excise taxes that target middle-income people,” he said.
He also said Kaine tried to raise income taxes on individuals making $17,000 per year.
Norquist told PJM he believes Trump will also focus on reducing federal spending while reducing taxes.
“He has some help here. Paul Ryan has spent most of his life working on reforming entitlements so they reform to cost less,” he said. “We need to do both. We need to spend less and we need to tax less.”