Pledging to Protect Taxpayers and Ourselves

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The Gaspee Project has created a Taxpayer Protection Pledge for candidates running for General Assembly or Congress, stated simply, “I pledge that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

As of this writing, 20 candidates have taken the pledge, including 15 Republicans, three independents, and two Democrats.

In a related effort, the Gaspee Business Network has posted a Taxpayer Election Pledge for you, the voter:

I support the RaiseSailsNotTaxes.com campaign, and I oppose any tax increases in the 2021 state budget.

As a taxpaying voter in the State of Rhode Island, I pledge to vote against any candidate who supports any tax increases or debt bonds as a means to plug projected deficits in our state budget.

Together, these pledges get at one of the central problems of Rhode Island government’s incentive structure.  Those who take money from government have tremendous incentive to tilt the table in their direction, while those who run government have incentive to please them.  Even strong reformers, once in office, find it difficult to resist the pressure at least not to displease them too much.

That is because they aren’t provided enough of a sense that there is a constituency for reform.  So, gaining office as reformers can feel a bit like charging up a hill with crowd behind you and then not knowing how many are still there once you’ve gotten over the crest.

Something as simple as a pledge can be a valuable statement that you’ve got their backs.



  • Joe Smith

    Step in the right direction, but again too narrow. Take a page from what worked in Alabama and in 1994 with Newt.

    Have candidates who pledge to support

    Ethics reform
    Term limits on the GA
    No new Tolls and eliminate truck tolls
    Fully phase out car tax
    Reduce sales tax
    Reform estate tax

    Sorry, but I think there is some elasticity in the upper income taxes, but keep it simple on crap that annoy the general population or play to their biggest gripes.

    Imagine if the GOP has 100 candidates in the House/Senate who all ran on that promise…the only reason Nicky did the car tax was Frias.