Fort Wayne, Indiana, has a new candidate for mayor: Republican Paula Hughes. Paula Hughes says on her website that she “was elected to the Allen County Council in 2002 and has served as its president in 2006 and 2010.” Furthermore, we are told that “During Paula’s tenure, Allen County has gone from being $8 million in debt with annual budget shortfalls to having a “rainy-day” surplus of over $22 million and $8 million in cash operating surplus.”
Of course, surpluses don’t simply appear out of thin air. They are generally the result from increased taxes, spending cuts, or a combination of the two.
As it happens, Paula Hughes has pledged to not raise taxes. Yes, she proudly proclaims on her website that she “Signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge” on January 14, 2011, solemnly binding herself to oppose any and all tax increases. She posted on her site,
Today, Former Allen County Council President and Republican candidate for Mayor, Paula Hughes, signed the Americans for Tax Reform “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” Hughes is the only candidate for Fort Wayne Mayor to sign the pledge and to stand up for the principles of smaller government and empowering the people of Fort Wayne to decide how best to spend their hard-earned paychecks.
Great! Another anti-tax Republican.
Not so fast: It turns out Paula Hughes is a serial tax raiser. The Indiana Democratic Party has outed her, writing in an advertisement I received today that “As a member of the Allen County Council,” (that same membership of which Hughes boasts),
Paula repeatedly voted for higher taxes. She even voted for 5 separate property tax hikes, one of which was so large that the county needed to get permission from the state before raising the tax.
Watch the video from TheRealPaula.com:
Look, there it is, the pledge and her signature:
Yet she is guilty of being a serial tax raiser. The evidence is insurmountable and irrefutable. The Indiana Democratic Party helpfully provides references. Here is her “tax” record care of http://www.therealpaula.com:
2000: Paula Hughes supported an $82 million downtown arena,1 paid for mostly by tax increases and extensions, including a tax on food and drink.2
2001: Paula Hughes supported property taxes to pay for an $84 million library expansion.3 Hughes said she considered this a “relatively tiny cost per household.”4
2002: Paula Hughes proposed a $100 million downtown improvement plan,5 which called for $20,000,000 in taxpayer spending.6 According to the News Sentinel, the proposal included “projects so vast in scope and cost they scarcely seem imaginable.”7
2003: Hughes voted to raise property taxes.8
2004: Hughes voted to raise property taxes.9
2005: Hughes voted to raise property taxes.10
2006: Hughes voted to raise the hotel tax.11
2007: Hughes voted to raise property taxes.12
2008: Hughes voted to raise the airport tax.13
2009: Hughes voted to raise property taxes.14
After all this, she is suddenly anti-tax:
January 14, 2011: Hughes signs a “promise” to never raise taxes.15
August 18, 2011: Hughes re-affirms her “promise.”16
Oh dear, this is a bit of a problem isn’t it? Paula Hughes spends 10 years voting to raise taxes on Fort Wayne residents, including 5 property tax hikes, and then signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. She conveniently forgot to mention on her campaign website that only after 10 years of voting to raise taxes she signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
You have to love Republicans, if only for their shamelessness. They have absolutely no comprehension of honesty or integrity. One day you can be a tax-raising maniac and the next you can be a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and be a zealous opponent of those same tax increases, all without mentioning your own recent membership of the tax hiker club.
But in today’s technological world, you can run but you cannot hide. The record is there. Paula, I think, has some explaining to do. I’m sure it will be a good story. Likely, a diverse and pluralistic society is to blame. The one thing you can count on is that no Republican proponent of personal responsibility will ever, EVER accept personal responsibility.
And the references for her tax record above, care of the Indiana Democratic Party:
Check for yourself:
1. “GROUP GIVEN DEADLINE FOR ARENA PLANS COMMISSIONERS WANT DOWNTOWN SPECIFICS BY NOV. 29.” Dawson, News-Sentinel, 10/19/2000; 2. “Backers of downtown arena reveal plans food tax would finance some of it, group tells chamber.” Dawson, News-Sentinel, 11/29/2000; 3.“The debate over the library It could revitalize downtown, say supporters. It’s too big, say opponents.” Perez, News-Sentinel, 9/27/2001; 4.“Library unveils overhaul $84.1 million upgrade includes improvements countywide.” Griner, Journal Gazette, 4/27/2001; 5.“Enthusiasm is there for downtown improvement; funding is next step,” Leininger, News-Sentinel, 11/21/2002; 6.“Downtown’s makeover could cost $100 million; The final report will be released on Wednesday.” Leininger, News-Sentinel, 11/16/2002; 7. “Farmer’s market and canal could return; Downtown consultants pitch ideas big and small.” Leininger, News-Sentinel, 6/1/2002 8.“Depth of budget cuts remains to be seen; The first draft was met with shock.” Leininger, News-Sentinel, 7/9/2003; 9. “3 hopefuls share ideas to run city,” Lanka, Journal Gazette, 4/24/2011; 10. “Family programs’ tax hike slashed; Daniels gives counties flexibility,” Lanka, Journal Gazette, 12/16/2005; 11. “Council backs 1% hotel tax hike,” Lanka, Journal Gazette, 12/22/2006; 12. “County passes state-tax review,” Leininger, News-Sentinel, 9/14/2007; 13. “Airport makes tax case to county Big increase essential to avoid bond suit, council told,” Lanka, Journal Gazette, 8/13/2008; 14. County taps $180,000 for extra Courthouse fixes,” Iacone, Journal Gazette, 10/16/2009; 15. “Hughes signs a pledge for tax protection,” WANE TV, 1/14/2011; 16. “Shine to mediate county officials’ clash,” Kelly/Lanka, Journal Gazette, 8/21/2011
Savor it, and remember, you won’t find the GOP providing references like this unless they’re a) invented, or b) misquoted/taken out of context. I think the Democrats have nailed this one. I just hope all the good folks in Allen County are paying attention.