Update Below The Fold
The business community in Arkansas is split. Some praise Mr. Huckabee’s efforts to raise taxes to repair roads and work with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Free-market advocates are skeptical. “He has zero intellectual underpinnings in the conservative movement,” says Blant Hurt, a former part owner of, and columnist for, Arkansas Business magazine. “He’s hostile to free trade, hiked sales and grocery taxes, backed sales taxes on Internet purchases, and presided over state spending going up more than twice the inflation rate.” Mr. Huckabee told me yesterday he also cut some taxes, and has taken the Americans for Tax Reform no-tax pledge. Former GOP state Rep. Randy Minton is not impressed. In 1999, he was urged by the governor to back a gas-tax increase. “I’d taken a pledge against higher taxes, but he sniffed that my constituents didn’t understand what we have to do in state government to make it work,” Mr. Minton says. “His support for taxes split the Republican Party, and damaged our name brand.” The Club for Growth notes that only a handful of the 33 current GOP state legislators back their former governor.
David Frum, Opinion Journal (Wall Street Journal)
I continue to be amazed that what was once a minority movement within the party is now considered orthodoxy. In fact the old majority view is now considered heretical. Even when Bush Sr. was in office, it was not accepted that the only good government was no government or that government was wholly unqualified to address concerns about the common good. Questioning the guy’s orthodoxy because he thought there was a need to raise funds for road repairs seems a little silly. I’m not claiming that one couldn’t argue against the claim based on a belief that the roads didn’t need repairs as quickly. That is a claim that the guy is imprudent. The claim alleged is that the guy is some liberal because he thinks the State should have decent roads. As for proposing a “sales taxes on Internet purchases,” there are conservative arguments for such things, most notably that you don’t put your local businesses at a disadvantage to some out-of-state company. This is not to say that there aren’t conservative arguments against it. Let’s be clear though. The only real orthodoxy threatened there is a libertarian one.
This is a topic that deserves lengthier treatment, but I hope it can be the start of a good conversation.
A former Arkansas reporter sets the record straight. It turns out the gas tax increase for roads came after a referendum. Additional spending was compelled for education after an adverse Supreme Court ruling.