(1st Add: Includes a response from Rep. Duncan Hunter)
(CNSNews.com) - As part of its ongoing efforts to ask policymakers and public leaders the tough questions, CNSNews.com asked the Republican presidential candidates: "Will you pledge as president to oppose all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and businesses?" Following are the responses received. (Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Tom Tancredo and Sens. John McCain and Fred Thompson did not respond to requests for comment.)
Sen. Sam Brownback: "Yes. I am opposed to all tax increases and have promised to never sign one as president. I also support creating an optional flat tax, which would leave the current code in place but give people the option of a simple and fair flat tax, with a rate of about 15 to 20 percent."
Rep. Duncan Hunter: "Yes, I oppose all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and businesses. I believe our present federal tax system is highly unfair, especially to America's middle class. As president, I will work to reduce taxes on working families while, at the same time, seeking to reform the federal tax code to make it more fair and equitable to all Americans. Additionally, I have made a similar pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform.
Amb. Alan Keyes: "Yes. Tyrannical taxation, and excessive government spending and borrowing, are not only threats to our economy - they erode the resource base of our freedom and our moral responsibility. The income tax is a 20th-century socialist experiment that has failed. Before the income tax was imposed on us just 85 years ago, government had no claim to our income. Only sales, excise and tariff taxes were allowed. We need to return to the Constitution of economic liberty that our Founders intended to be a permanent bulwark of our political liberty. The income tax in effect makes us vassals of the government - the politicians decide how much income we can keep. No mere 'reform' of this slave tax, such as flattening the rate, can correct its fundamental denial of control over our own money."
Rep. Ron Paul: "Absolutely. I have voted against every attempt to raise taxes during my 10 Congressional terms, and have signed the Americans for Tax Reform Presidential Taxpayer Protection Pledge, committing to veto any bill containing a tax increase if I am elected President. In fact, a primary goal of my administration would be to repeal the 16th amendment and abolish the federal income tax, for which I have fought during my entire career in the House of Representatives. No one fights harder than I do to make taxes as low as possible for every American."
Gov. Mitt Romney: "Yes. Keeping taxes low is crucial to the health of our economy, which is why I have pledged not to raise taxes. I will make the Bush tax cuts permanent, abolish the Death Tax, and bring down marginal tax rates. I will implement a middle class savings plan, which eliminates all taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for middle class Americans. People should be able to save their money tax-free. I also believe that we need to lower our corporate tax rate if American companies are to remain competitive in the global economy. Almost every other developed country in the world has lowered their corporate rate in recent years while we have not, and almost all have a lower rate than ours."
(To read the question posed to the Democratic presidential candidates and their responses, click here.)