Kuster Says She’s Flip-flopped on the Income Tax – but with a Qualifier
Concord, NH – A day after grabbing a microphone from Charlie Bass during a debate, and just over two weeks since she grabbed a camera from a Bass for Congress campaign staffer during a public event, liberal Democrat Annie Kuster is denying her record as one of New Hampshire’s most ardent income tax supporters – sort of. Kuster grabbed a microphone from Charlie Bass during his closing statement at the Southern New Hampshire Jewish Men’s Club forum Sunday, October 7, 2012. When Bass continued delivering his statement, Kuster leaned over to the microphone, interrupted Bass, and denied her long record of supporting income tax for New Hampshire.
Today, in a Concord Monitor story, Kuster’s campaign manager Garrick Delzell attempts to qualify Kuster’s position, “She had been on the board of a political action committee that advocated a state income tax in the late 1990s, Delzell conceded, but she doesn't support one now, given the fragile state of the economy.”
Bass for Congress spokesperson Scott Tranchemontagne responded, “Passing an income tax in New Hampshire was a passion for Annie Kuster. More than just support an income tax, Kuster fought for it. She helped direct PAC funds to pro-income tax candidates, to defeat candidates like Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, who did not support one. It’s just not credible for Kuster to say a few weeks before a close election that she has suddenly changed her mind about the one issue on which she has been most active during her political career.”
Tranchemontagne noted Kuster did not deny her income tax support during the Democratic Primary campaign in 2010, and the economy was worse at that time. Rather, Kuster ducked addressing the income tax issue when challenged during a debate by Katrina Swett.
“Swett also called Kuster a "vigorous supporter of an income tax in New Hampshire." Kuster supported former state senator Mark Fernald in his 2002 gubernatorial bid, citing at the time his support for an income tax to stabilize education funding in the state. Kuster did not respond last night to several of Swett's references to an income tax.” Concord Monitor, September 9, 2010
Annie Kuster’s Record of Pro-Income Tax Activism
- Kuster has been a longtime supporter of a statewide income tax. In 1999 Kuster joined the board of the “Courage and Leadership PAC” – a group dedicated to imposing an income tax on New Hampshire. The PAC, founded by pro-income tax activist Gary Hirshberg, raised money to support “candidates of either party who support an income tax.” (Boston Globe, 7/4/1999).
- “In the letter, Hirshberg said the goal of the PAC is to ‘examine and educate the public on ALL fair taxation’ options for education funding. Translation: They favor the income tax but they won’t rule out talking about other options. That is except for one big one dear to the heart of the Senate president, Junie Blasidell, and Governor Jeanne Shaheen - expanded gambling. The PAC says it will have no part of it.” (Boston Globe, 7/4/1999)
- “Other members of the PAC board include possible congressional candidate Glen Secor, former Concord mayor Martin Gross, Ann McLane Kuster, Harold Janeway of Concord, Meg Hirshberg and Mary Townsend Scheffey.” (Boston Globe, 7/4/1999)
During the 2010 Democrat primary for Congress in New Hampshire’s 2nd District, Kuster’s opponent called her a “vigorous supporter of an income tax in New Hampshire” for supporting legendary income tax advocate Mark Fernald in his gubernatorial primary campaign against Jeanne Shaheen in 2000. Kuster also supported Fernald for governor in 2002.
- “No hard feelings. Democratic activist Ann McLane Kuster, who bucked the party line and backed [Mark Fernald] for governor in the primary, received the party’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award on Oct. 19.” (Boston Globe, October 29, 2000)
- On Sept. 9, 2010, the Concord Monitor reported, “[Katrina] Swett also called Kuster a ‘vigorous supporter of an income tax in New Hampshire.’ Kuster supported former state senator Mark Fernald in his 2002 gubernatorial bid, citing at the time his support for an income tax to stabilize education funding in the state.”
Tranchemontagne concluded, “Annie Kuster has been running and dancing from her record of fighting for a New Hampshire income tax, but the voters will see through it. After all, Kuster proudly supports the president’s health care law and its medical device tax that will directly impact 3,700 New Hampshire jobs. She has made a small business tax that will cost the state another 3,400 jobs - disguised as a tax hike on the ‘rich’ - a centerpiece of her campaign. Kuster publicly supports a national energy tax that will cost the state up to 9,500 jobs. It’s very easy for voters to conclude that Kuster’s answer to just about every problem is to raise taxes and spend more money.”