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.