Barrett Taxed In Debate


In last night’s Republican gubernatorial debate, State Representative Nikki Haley pointed out that Congressman Gresham Barrett co-sponsored a national value added tax.  In a question about the “No Tax Pledge” and a standalone tax on cigarettes, Haley offered:

With all due respect, Congressman Barrett co-sponsored the value added tax in Washington that’s like a national European-style sales tax that would turn around – it’s what Obama’s talking about for dealing with health care – and that goes to show signing a paper doesn’t matter, it is how you act and what you do that makes a big difference and that would hurt every South Carolinian.

The moderator gave Barrett a chance to respond and he said agreed with Haley that “we need to come up with a system that’s fair and that’s fine.”

It wasn’t until 34 minutes later that Barrett realized he had been challenged:

Let me answer the personal attack.  I’m the second most conservative member of the United States Congress.  I’m the only member of the congressional delegate that’s received the American Taxpayer Award for the last seven years.  I’m a defender of freedom, I’ve got an “A” rating with the NRA, I’ve got a 100% pro-life – I’m very proud of my conservative credentials.

“Personal attack?”  It’s public record.  In fact, it’s not the first time Barrett has favored such a tax.  SC Hotline has posted a compilation of links on the congressman’s history with the VAT. Rep. Barrett add no explanation for his support of the tax in the debate. 

After calling it “a massive tax increase” that “it will only place a greater financial burden on our nation’s private sector and stifle job creation during a time of economic hardship,” Barrett is on the record as co-sponsoring the value added tax.

On his official congressional web site, Barrett has posted an undated press release titled “BARRETT CALLS ON PRESIDENT TO DENOUNCE VAT.”

Gresham Barrett was for – and he was NOT for – TARP. 

Gresham Barrett both supports AND opposes a national value added (sales) tax.

Nikki Haley was the only other candidate who knew of Barrett’s sponsorship or, more likely, she was the only one with the guts to bring it up.

Either way, Congressman Barrett must have found the experience very taxing.

And, he probably DIDN’T find it very taxing.


14 thoughts on “Barrett Taxed In Debate

  1. Its ridicuous to say it is a VAT tax it helps small businesses of america from foreign taxes. Funny, coming from a state rep that voted for the Obama stimulus.


    • It is a tax on imported goods. Look around your house (or your local Wal-Mart, Best Buy, clothing store, etc.) How much of what you buy is made in China, Pakistan, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia or El Salvador?


  2. I am against the value added tax but if they make our taxes 100 percent consumption based I am in favor of that. I support the fairtax but we first have to cut out all other federal taxation. I also support a consumption tax for the state of south carolina. And I don’t have much use for cities, they are excuses for liberals to get together and tax there neighbors, you ever met a mayor that was fiscally conservative?

    Barrett is out because he voted for the bailout.


  3. The original article in the Hill that Haley referred to was corrected because the first version reflected an inaccurate “characterization of Rep. Pascrell’s bill.”

    Simply, the legislation does not create a VAT. It creates a tariff that tries to even the playing field for American workers who are trying to compete against foreign companies receiving tax subsidies from their governments. Would legislation that levies a tariff on, say, Burma for their human rights record indicate that agreement with that human rights record? Clearly not. So how a does bill that levies a tariff on countries who subsidize their exports via a VAT indicates support for a VAT? I’ll make it easy to answer my question: it doesn’t.

    Haley’s attack indicates either an inability to read and understand legislation or a willingness to engage in misleading and unfair tactics. I’m not sure which is a worse quality for a governor.


  4. Frankly, I don’t follow your logic..

    It’s been made clear by follow-up news stories (as well as by reading the text of the bill), that the Border Tax Equity Act is not a VAT. Is it a tariff equal to foreign imports’ tax subsidy? Yes: nobody disputes that. Is it a VAT? No.

    So why do you try to claim — falsely — that Barrett “supports…a national value added…tax?”

    There are benefits and downsides to consumption taxes as well as tariffs; that discussion is well beyond this conversation’s topic. But it’s simply false and misleading for you — and Haley — to label co-sponsorship of the Border Tax Equity Act as support for a national VAT, or really a VAT of any type.


  5. Mr. Speight,

    Are you (and Mrs. Haley) talking about Barrett’s co-sponsorship of H.R. 25, The Fair Tax Act of 2009??? . . . the consumption tax sponsored by Rep. John Linder (GA-7) that would REPLACE federal income, corporate, estate, alternative minimum, medicare and Social Security taxes with a single-rate tax collected at the single point of retail sale??? . . . HARDLY a V.A.T.!!!

    You (and apparently Mrs. Haley) need to educate yourselves on the merits of the Fair Tax Plan!


    • @Tea2Dump- This doesn’t have anything to do with the FairTax. It’s a completely different bill. No need to get worked up


    • Most arguments made in support of a VAT say that it WOULD replace federal income tax, so you’re “hardly a VAT” statement is false. That’s what the VAT would be designed to do. Of course, nobody believes that it would completely replace it. Lawmakers can’t help themselves, and there would be significant pressure to grant exemptions to things like food, education and other necessities, as well as exemptions to help those on welfare. In turn, one of two things would have to happen: they’d either put the VAT up to around 15 or 16% (as opposed to the single-digit max being thrown around), or they’d institute it on top of the federal income tax. THAT’S probably where you’re getting the argument that a VAT would not “replace” those other taxes you mentioned. The pitch is that it WOULD replace them, so your argument is wrong. Now, you and I both know that our lawmakers would look at VAT as a cash cow to supplement FIT to get more big government and more entitlement programs. In other words, your sentiment is correct, but your facts aren’t.


    • Based on the link the Spy just posted, it appears that YOU have lost the argument. You owe readers of these comments and Ms. Haley an apology.


      • Perhaps this might help settle any lingering doubts about the truth of Rep. Haley’s claims:

        COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – State Rep. Nikki Haley said during a recent South Carolina gubernatorial debate that opponent U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett had co-sponsored legislation to impose a European-style, value-added tax. Haley also said she signed a pledge to not increase taxes.

        The facts don’t back up Haley’s tax criticism of Barrett on Monday night, nor is there proof she signed a tax pledge before the debate.

        TAX PLAN:

        HALEY: “It is actions that mean everything. And with all due respect, Congressman Barrett co-sponsored the value-added tax in Washington that’s like a national, European-style sales tax that would turn around. It’s what Obama’s talking about for dealing with health care.”

        Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson backed up the claim later with a link to a story in a Washington political publication that noted Republican support for the “Border Tax Equity Act” sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.


        The publication later wrote a second story clarifying what Pascrell’s bill did and corrected the initial story.

        “The legislation in no way imposes or seeks to impose a value-added tax,” Pascrell told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

        Pascrell’s bill first calls for negotiation with the World Trade Organization with countries that give their manufacturers tax breaks, including on value-added taxes, when they export to other countries. If the negotiations fail, he wants to impose a fee on imports from foreign manufacturers. Pascrell said the fee, regarded by others as a tariff, would be used to offset taxes other nation taxes levied on U.S. manufacturers’ goods.

        While it is not a value-added tax, Barrett, U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., issued a joint statement Tuesday saying they have withdrawn support for the bill. Barrett said he decided there were better ways to deal with the issue.


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