A Campaign Tale of Taxes — and Pledges — Hawaii Style
Why did David Ige sign Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes only to break it later? He's not the only one.
by Gus Downes October 31, 2014 Honolulu Civil Beat
Much campaign rhetoric has been flowing over whether Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige signed a controversial pledge not to raise taxes more than a decade ago.
Ige at first came close to denying it, telling Hawaii News Now: “I do not have explicit memory of signing it (the pledge). I have to admit that.”
We now know that he did sign Grover Norquist’s politically famous pledge. Ige has since acknowledged the action and and Civil Beat obtained a copy of his signed pledge from Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform. The signature is dated Jan. 24, 2003 and witnessed by someone with awful penmanship.
We also know he broke it. In the 11 years since taking the pledge, he’s voted to raise taxes numerous times. In 2011, he voted to raise the fees for rental cars, vehicle registration fees, and vehicle weight taxes, among others.
Ige’s campaign later tried to fend off any insinuation that he once aligned himself with anti-tax Republicans by declaring it a non-issue.
But we had a more important question: Why would Ige take the pledge in the first place?
It wasn’t a campaign issue; he ran unopposed. Plus, he didn’t sign until after he took office. It wasn’t demanded by his party; he is, after all, a Democrat, and a legislator for 18 years prior. To our knowledge, nobody was demanding his signature in the first place.
His campaign has been asked to explain why he signed, explicitly, in three emails, and has not responded.