How can "Tommy-the-Taxer" (hat tip, Bruce Murphy, circa 1996) get out from under the proven false claim that he "never raised taxes?"
Follow the Scott Walker example: just keep on making the claim. Repetition is the key. Send everyone out with the same talking points, and soon fiction becomes 'fact,' especially as part of a multi-million-dollar pre-recall election TV ad blitz.
Case in point: I pointed out last March that Walker's budget would raise state income tax payments on some low-income Wisconsin residents:
...I see in the budget...an increase the working poor would have to pay in state taxes because of a limitation Walker would impose on the use in Wisconsin of an existing federal tax break for low-income people - - the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC)...The Journal Sentinel noted it - - and more:
Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget would reduce a tax credit program for many of the working poor by $41.3 million over two years - a change that critics say violates his pledge not to raise any taxes...
Walker's proposal also would stop the adjustment for inflation of the homestead tax credit, a change that would cost low-and moderate-income workers $8.1 million over two years.PolitiFact confirmed in May that Walker indeed put these tax increases in his budget despite a promise that he wouldn't do such a thing:
Case closed, right?
Walker and his allies just keep on making the no-tax-increase claim, as PolitiFact reported months later, in December:
Walker, the Wisconsin Republican Party and other supporters repeatedly claim the GOP governor balanced the state budget "without raising taxes"...So, really - - case closed, right?
As a candidate during the 2010 campaign, Walker promised to "oppose and veto" all tax increases. That put the issue squarely on our promise-tracking Walk-O-Meter, where we’ve already looked at this question.
In May 2011, we rated this as a Promise Broken, based on Walker’s own 2011-2013 budget proposal, which raised two taxes.
* State Sen. Alberta Darling, (R-River Hills), an outspoken Walker defender, repeated the no-tax-increase falsehood to the Wisconsin State Journal just last week even though she is co-chair of the legislature's budget-writing committee:
But Walker's Republican supporters said Thursday that national problems were affecting the state's economy. State Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said that the country is recovering slowly and that 29 states expected similar budget gaps in 2013.And on the same day, other GOP leaders eased the big lie into an AP story:
"When Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker took over, we rolled up our sleeves, made tough decisions and got our state headed in the right direction without raising taxes," she said.
The Legislature's Republican leaders, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald, issued a joint statement Thursday defending their handling of the budget and reiterating their plans to solve the current problem without raising taxes."Wisconsin is not immune to the bad economy, we're simply responding to it better," the Fitzgerald brothers said in a statement."Instead of tax hikes that shift the burden away from the government and onto taxpayers, and instead of playing political games that make the business climate worse, Republicans in Madison will continue to keep focusing on growing jobs, not the government."