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Gibson won’t re-sign tax pledge; Republican open to ‘bipartisan compromise’

Congressman Chris Gibson

By Fritz Mayer
December 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Chris Gibson said he won’t re-sign a pledge not to raise taxes. Formally called the Tax Payer Protection Pledge, it was formulated by conservative lobbyist and operative Grover Norquist. Those who sign it promise to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

Gibson did sign the pledge two years ago when he first ran for Congress to represent New York’s 20th Congressional District. In January, Gibson will represent the newly formed 19th Congressional District, which includes Sullivan and Ulster counties.

Gibson spokesperson Stephanie Valle said when he signed the pledge in 2010, “He was coming out of 24 years in the United State Army and didn’t have a legislative record, and the pledge was a commitment to the constituents, that he was running to represent, that he understood that rising taxes were an impediment to growth for small businesses, families and farms that are across our district.”

She said, now he has a record that was evaluated in the election in November, and he will not resign the pledge. He supports a budget called Cooper-LaTourette, named after the two legislators who created it. Valle said that budget is “pro-growth; it closes loopholes and deductions that don’t grow the economy, which will allow the rates for hard-working families to be lowered.” She added, “He will certainly be willing to consider any bipartisan compromise or agreement that emerges.”

As the so-called fiscal cliff draws nears, in which steep federal spending cuts will be triggered unless President Obama, the Senate and House of Representatives can come to an agreement on the matter, it is not clear if the president will get his way and convince the Republican-controlled House to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

But it is clear that after the 2012 elections, there are slightly fewer signatories to the Norquist pledge. Before the election 238 of 242 Republican members of the House had signed it; according to some analysts, that figure now is about 218. In the Senate, before the election, 41 out of 47 Republicans had signed pledge; after the election that number dropped to 39.