By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Lately, the far-right-wing talking heads, and even those who consider themselves to be the media elite, have taken to bashing Congressional candidate Rep. Paul DeMarco. The talking point has been that DeMarco deceptively used a quote by his campaign rival out of context.
DeMarco’s campaign recently aired a commercial that quotes his opponent, Gary Palmer stating that he would support an increase in State taxes.
DeMarco TV ad:
Here’s what Gary Palmer wrote about the billion-dollar tax increase called Amendment One:
“To the surprise of many of my conservative friends and colleagues, I am of the opinion that the State needs more revenue. I would be willing to support a tax increase …”
The quote is truncated to make the point that Palmer, would in fact, be willing to raised taxes on the people of Alabama. The actual quote comes from a September 6, 2003 editorial Palmer wrote while serving as President of the Alabama Policy Institute.
In Palmer’s, Editorial dated Sept. 6, 2003, he wrote: “To the surprise of many of my conservative friends and colleagues, I am of the opinion that the State needs more revenue. I would be willing to support a tax increase, but only on the condition that we first set in place some meaningful accountability measures. Unfortunately, the proposal before the people of Alabama falls well short of the mark.”
The DeMarco ad deleted the portion, “but only on the condition that we first set in place some meaningful accountability measures. Unfortunately, the proposal before the people of Alabama falls well short of the mark.”
Deleting the above sentence does not change the fact that Palmer said he would support a tax increase, nor does the ad say that Palmer supported “ the billion-dollar tax increase called Amendment One.” A careful reading shows that the ad was factually accurate. Now, what the talking heads and the media elite have read into the ad may be the real deception.
The question the DeMarco ad raises is whether or not Palmer would favor a tax increase? He does, and has said so on a number of occasions. Actually, the September 6 editorial is not the only time Palmer has suggested an increase in State revenue via tax increases. At least six news article can be easily found showing that Palmer supported some form of new taxes.
Palmer’s 2003 call for tax reform included the musing, “…we will find that we do need to increase revenues.” His own reform plans called for hiking property taxes, actually going as far as saying that Alabama’s low property tax burden was somehow a bad thing. In an Obama-like move, Palmer also argued that higher income Alabamians should pay more. All of which makes him a non-starter.” (Dan Spencer, Red State, 3/12/14)
“Even Gary Palmer of the very conservative Alabama Policy Institute agreed with this basic fact of that the general fund was in dire straits. Gary thought at least some more revenues were needed for the short term for the general fund, although not as much more as Riley ended up proposing.” (Columnist Quin Hillyer in 2010 article of American Spectator)
“It would be fair to say that Palmer has expressed a willingness to consider tax increases under certain specific conditions.” (Factcheck.org, 6/25/14)
“Frankly, we do need tax reform in Alabama and in the final analysis I think we will find that we do need to increase revenues.” (Gary Palmer quote, Montgomery Advertiser, 2/14/03)
“In a speech this week, API President Gary Palmer, said that the organization is developing a tax reform proposal that would boost property taxes….” (Associated Press 5/17/01)
“To its credit, the institute (API) also notes that property taxes could be increased.” (Montgomery Advertiser, 5/19/01)
While it could be argued that DeMarco should have simply stated that Palmer favored tax increase and not even mentioned Amendment One, it still doesn’t change the fact that Palmer has stated his willingness to impose new taxes.
It would appear that the recent attacks on DeMarco come from either selective reading or a coordinated effort by those with strong ties to Palmer. Either way, the facts show that Palmer has expressed that he would raises taxes under certain conditions.