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Nathan Fletcher Signed Anti-Tax Pledge In 2007, Says He Would Not Sign It Now

Five years ago, state Assemblyman and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher signed Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," promising to vote against all efforts to increase taxes. But Fletcher told KPBS that he would no longer sign that pledge today.

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Nathan Fletcher is currently serving in the California Assembly representing the 75th district and is a candidate to be San Diego's next mayor.

Transcript

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Five years ago, state Assemblyman and mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher signed Grover Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" promising to vote against all efforts to increase taxes.

But Fletcher told KPBS he would no longer sign that pledge today.

"I would not, I would not, I would pledge to say I'm going to do the right thing for the people I represent," he said. "That doesn't mean we're going to raise your taxes and I don't believe we should start raising taxes."

He added, "I don't believe you should raise taxes, I don't believe we build a competitive economic base, I don't believe we put people back to work by raising taxes."

But Fletcher added he does support a hotel room tax increase for an expanded Convention Center.

"That's a perfect example of a project where you have a specific fee or tax that's going to a specific purpose that has a broad-based economic impact," he said.

Fletcher also said he worked with Governor Jerry Brown to close a $1 billion tax loophole for out-of-state companies. Roger Hedgecock wrote in a U-T San Diego editorial that move violated Fletcher's Norquist pledge.

"Well if so be it, then so be it," Fletcher said. "Because we took that money and provided real relief to the working poor, to small businesses, and to manufacturers."

Since leaving the Republican party to become an independent, Fletcher has been accused of changing his stance on other issues as well, including abortion. But Fletcher said those accusations are false.

"You talk to supporters of mine who knew me before I ran for the Assembly, and they'll tell you I was pro-choice then and I'm pro-choice today," he said.

Fletcher also maintained he has always supported same-sex marriage.

"I opposed Proposition 8, I supported marriage equality, I support marriage equality today," he said.

While a mayoral scorecard created by Voice of San Diego shows Fletcher largely holds the same positions as the two Republican candidates for mayor, City Councilman Carl DeMaio and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Fletcher said that is not true.

"There is a stark and clear difference between myself and Councilmember Carl DeMaio," Fletcher said. "His vision is to make us the Wisconsin of the West, and he's not talking about cheese. He's talking about a state defined by chaos and confusion, riots and protests. He brings a very divided and polarizing approach."

"In an environment dominated by the extremes you'll have a Carl DeMaio who will stand up and use scorecards to paint me as a radical liberal and you'll have Bob Filner stand up and use scorecards to paint me as a crazy rightwing conservative, and it can't be both," he added. "In today's environment there is not an understanding that sometimes you agree with one, sometimes you agree with the other."

Fletcher also responded to attacks by the other mayoral campaigns for missing votes in the state Assembly.

'You don't have to be in Sacramento to serve your constituents, and my constituents know I'm working tirelessly every single day to make sure their interests are protected," he said.

One of Fletcher's missed votes was on SB 829, a law that means San Diego could stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in state construction funding if voters pass Proposition A to ban project labor agreements.

"There's been days I missed where we had mayoral debates, and if I missed the mayoral debate I'd be criticized for missing the mayoral debate, it's just a day I wasn't in Sacramento," he said.

Proposition A was voted on in the state Assembly on April 12. That night Fletcher and Congressman Bob Filner participated in a mayoral debate in Rancho Bernardo.

Fletcher said he has been attacked by both conservatives and liberals. He said Republicans sent out a mailer with a picture of him standing with Governor Jerry Brown, while Democrats sent out a mailer with a picture of him standing with Senator John McCain.

"Heaven forbid we have an environment where we say, 'I'll stand with anybody, regardless of party' if you have a good idea," Fletcher said.

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