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Anti-Tax Advocate Norquist Visits N.H., Praises Pledge-Signing Lawmakers

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Todd Bookman/NHPR
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Grover Norquist is occasionally referred to as the ‘dark wizard’ of conservative politics. His Washington-based organization, Americans for Tax Reform, is perhaps best known for its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which calls on politicians to oppose any increase in taxes.

On Wednesday, Norquist spoke at the headquarters of another conservative group, Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, where he pointed out just how in need of reform the federal tax system is.

“We’re the number one taxer of corporate income at 35%. Japan used to be stupider, at 40, and they decided to pass on that, and now we’re stupidest. Stupider than France is not where you want to be on taxation,” said Norquist.

The bespectacled and bearded Norquist warned that U.S. corporations are beginning to flee the country in search of fairer corporate tax rates.

He shrugged off any concerns that ongoing investigations in the Trump Administration's alleged ties to Russia could delay a tax reform deal, which he says should happen by the end of the year.

Norquist was joined in Manchester by former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, who joked about being called the ‘Svengali of New Hampshire politics,’ and by three already announced GOP candidates for the 2018 congressional races.

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Norquist was joined by Stephen Stepanek, as well as congressional candidates Andy Sanborn, Eddie Edwards, and far, right Jack Flanagan. Steve Negron, second from right, is considering a run.

“We need to put people in Washington who are focused on that burden for families in New Hampshire, and across this country. They expect a government that lives within its means, like they have to,” said Eddie Edwards, a candidate in the state’s 1st congressional district, a seat currently held by Democrat Carol Shea-Porter.

State Senator Andy Sanborn, who is challenging Edwards in the 1st District also spoke at the event. Jack Flanagan, a former state representative from Brookline, is running in the 2nd Congressional District. He was joined by State Representative Steve Negron of Nashua, who is considering a run.

All four men have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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