This week marks the fourth in a series of six questions The York Dispatch is posing to candidates for the 4th Congressional District. York County voters will select Democratic and Republican nominees in the April 24 primary election. Candidates were asked to respond to the questions in 150 words or less.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION FOR REPUBLICANS
Would you sign Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" to oppose any increase in tax revenue? Why or why not?
Chris Reilly (R): I signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and received endorsements from Citizens Against Higher Taxes and the Camp Hill Association for Tax Relief. I want to cut taxes so people can work for themselves rather than the federal government. We also need a flatter, fairer tax and a simplified tax code.
Scott Perry (R): I believe the problem is not government is taxing too little - government is spending too much. As a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, I opposed Gov. Ed Rendell when he tried to continually raise state taxes and supported Gov. Tom Corbett in holding the line on taxes and in reducing our job-crushing corporate taxes. To me, pledges can be gimmicks. It is easy for candidates to sign pledges and make promises. The proof is in my record.
Sean Summers (R): No. I believe that we should all pay our fair share. The middle class is already paying more than its fair share, but we need to broaden the tax base. That means that we get rid of tax loopholes for the rich and the lower incomes pay something. We are all Americans, and it is our country - and that means that we can all pay something. Since I just said that we all should pay and 47 percent are not paying now, it follows that some taxpayers will be paying more than they are now because they currently pay no federal income tax. On the other end of the spectrum, loopholes will go away and the rich will contribute more. I do not believe that the total tax revenue collected from all of us should increase, but some taxpayers should pay more and the middle class should pay less.
Mark Swomley (R): Once again, it is important to understand the difference between tax rate and tax revenue. The "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" is a pledge that the candidate will not raise tax rates, or reduce deductions without an offsetting reduction in tax rate. Tax revenue is how much money the government takes in from the taxes levied. By increasing job growth through reduced regulation on business, the number of taxpayers will increase, which will increase tax revenue even at a reduced tax rate. This is what will be necessary to help us climb out of the economic hole we are in. Yes, I will sign the pledge.
Kevin Downs (R): I would gladly sign. I believe any pledge to the American people to uphold a conservative value of fiscal responsibility has no down side. This was a strong part of Ronald Reagan's presidential policy. I believe he would be disgusted with just about every decision made by this current administration. Until this government proves they are responsible with American citizen's money, they should be ashamed to ask for more. Ronald Reagan said, "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Simply put, no amount of tax revenue will be enough for our federal government. I would like to see every Republican sign this pledge.
Eric Martin (R): I have signed it because I oppose any increase in taxes and any decrease in tax deductions unless offset by a decrease in taxes. I favor getting the United States out of undeclared, unconstitutional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as closing shop at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. This will help balance the budget and free our economy to grow. The 10th Amendment tells us that these federal agencies are unlawful because they are governing areas reserved to the people or the states. The founders knew that bureaucrats in Washington should not be managing states' domestic affairs because those bureaucrats are detached from the people they are serving. The closer those who govern are to the governed, the better. We must end all federal involvement in most of states' domestic affairs, because they constitutionally belong in the hands of the states or the people.
Ted Waga (R): As I mentioned earlier, I would be in favor of completely replacing the current tax code with Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan. However, if that were not accomplished, I would sign the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." The federal government does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. As a people, we are the richest nation in the world, yet we have a government that not even the richest people in the world can afford. We already have some of the highest tax rates in the world. The American people cannot afford to pay any more in taxes than they already are.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION FOR DEMOCRATS:
This district has been represented by a Republican for as long as most people can remember. Why should we now vote Democrat?
Harry Perkinson (D): The question should be: Why would the voters of the 4th District continue to vote against their own economic interests by voting Republican? The Republican Party has forgotten that the middle class is the backbone of the United States and runs our economy. Their stubbornness in last year's fight over extending the payroll tax showed how much they are out of touch. The Republicans have done little to nothing to focus on the most important issue our time - creating jobs. We need a tax system that helps grow the middle class and create jobs. The Republicans don't believe that - they are in the pockets of the special interests and business and aren't helping people get ahead. The voters of the 4th District should take an honest look at all of the candidates and they will see that the Democrats will work for them and give them a better future.
Ken Lee (D): A Democrat should be elected because of the past complacency of our congressional delegation toward this district. Knowing full well that this is a "safe" Republican district, our representatives have not taken bold initiatives necessary to procure a solid, bright future for our most valuable resource, the people. Legitimate governmental facilities and good-paying jobs have gone to areas much further away from Washington, D.C., than this area. Few new corporations or businesses have located either their headquarters or plants or offices here, notwithstanding (a) our proximity to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, (b) the fact this district is in the center of a metropolitan area of 6.7 million people, (c) the talents of those who live here, and (d) the quality of life this area offers. To be successful as a Democrat in this area, I could not take any election or the voters for granted and would have to produce the foundation for the future I envision for this area.