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

Evening Edition

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.

Aired 5/14/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


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


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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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 14, 2012 at 11 a.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

So is this Norquist tax pledge a lifelong agreement you can never get out of?

This is one the **the** most dictatorial, idiotic things happening in our government right now, and one of the reasons our Congress is dysfunctional.

Norquist's tax pledge is like a cult that allows one man to pull the strings of almost all of the Reoublican elected officials.

This is a huge red mark for Fletcher. He is trying to be independent yet has his signature on one of the most partisan, right wing agenda scams out there.

It's not enough to say "I wouldn't sign it today".

He needs to write an official letter to Norquist asking to be removed, and telling Norquist his signature is null and void and he will not govern based on that ridiculous petition. Put the letter and Norquist's response on your website. Only them will I be satisfied.

I do think it's pretty funny that right wing trolls like Roger Hedgecock have their panties in a bunch because they can feel their power over San Diegans dwindling.

Guess what Hedgecock, you sorry piece of excrement, you are becoming less relevant to the people of San Diego by the second. I suggest moving somewhere where the populace may be more receptive to your viewpoints - maybe a backwoods area of Mississippi.

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Avatar for user 'Kimberley'

Kimberley | May 14, 2012 at 12:04 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

The claim that he worked with the Governor to close the tax loophole favoring out of state corporations and costing the state billions is a farce. In 2009, he strongly supported this $2 billion corporate tax giveaway. When Governor Brown proposed closing the loophole in January 2011, Fletcher opposed it because the additional revenue would go to schools and to closing the budget deficit. Only when it was crafted as revenue neutral and Jon Fleishman of the Flash Report tweeted the following, “”Because the tax plan is revenue neutral, supporting it does NOT violate a no new taxes pledge.”, did Fletcher support it.

Many people do not know that Jon Fleishman is California's Grover Norquist. He has extracted similar pledges from CA Republicans, the most recent being last year when the Governor tried to extend temporary taxes to stave off more draconian cuts. All Republican legislators in San Diego County, including Fletcher, signed a pledge vowing not to allow their constituents to vote on a revenue extension measure. As you may recall, the Governor wanted to put it to a vote of the people, but this was blocked by the pledge-signing republicans.

Fletcher's claim that DeMaio is painting him as a liberal is not true. I just got a mailer from DeMaio and here are some direct quotes: "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"; "Nathan Fletcher voted for an all-cuts state budget that slashed social programs"; "Fletcher joined conservative Republicans in voting for an all-cuts budget that reduced K12 education by $3 billion a year, eliminated need-based child care, eliminated Welfare to Work for 500,000 families and 1 million children, reduced Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and cut $750 million for Medi-Cal." "Nathan Fletcher voted to slash classroom education spending by $14.5 billion." I could go on, but the point is that, despite the above claims, DeMaio is not portraying Fletcher as a liberal. Fletcher is consistent in one area - his deceptions!

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Avatar for user 'mattman'

mattman | May 14, 2012 at 2:41 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

I think allowing government to steal more and more of the people's money they labor for in order to spend it in ways they choose is just plain wrong. To sign that document was a good thing done in the best interests of the people of California. And he is right to set it aside in order to prevent tax increases in what ever form that effects his constituents as a whole. Taxes in any form are detrimental to the overall wealth and prosperity of the city but allowing higher tax burdens to fester for in state business v. out of state is unfair and unlawful on so many levels. And his belief of temporary taxes is deceptive. Governments will rarely allow any decrease to remain any significant amount of time so they can maintain the same level of revenue coming in.This is wrong on so many levels to do that. It happens all the time across the country and is disgusting and a terrible act of elected city councils.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 14, 2012 at 5:44 p.m. ― 4 years, 9 months ago

Mattman wrote:
*Taxes in any form are detrimental to the overall wealth and prosperity of the city*

Do you drive on our roads, mattman?

Your post epitomizes the extremist crap Norquist puts out there and is a major reason our government is dysfunctional.

The united states form of government is one in which representatives are elected to run our county, and this **can't** be done without raising taxes. To suggest this is "stealing money" from the people is preposterous.

*The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;*

That's from the constitution, dear.

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