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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jeb Bush ditches openness to budget deal with some tax increases for big spending cuts

Jeb Bush at Koch brother gathering in California on Aug. 2, 2015

Screen capture

Jeb Bush at Koch brother gathering in California on Aug. 2, 2015



Jeb Bush says as president he would not accept any tax increases as part of a deal to slash government spending, going back on what he had to say few years ago.

“No,” Bush flatly told Politico’s Mike Allen during a Sunday forum in California hosted by the Koch bros-funded Freedom Partners. "We've raised taxes. What we need to be doing it entitlement reform, curbing the growth of spending, creating a high-growth scenario.

"If you grow at 4 percent for year, I can guarantee you that the revenue that comes to government, instead of the 2 percent growth, in far exceeds any of the exotic taxation ideas that come from DeBlasio or Clinton or any of the most progressives on the planet."

Allen replied that it sounded as if Bush had effectively taken Grover Norquist's no-new-tax pledge. "No," Bush shot back, "I don't sign pledges."

In 2012, Bush had a different perspective.

“If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we’re going to have $10 in spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement -- put me in, coach,” Bush told the House Budget Committee in June of that year. “This will prove I’m not running for anything."

Bush then was commenting on the hard-line approach taken by Republican presidential candidates during a 2011 debate in which they all all said they would reject a deal providing $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue.

Like Marco Rubio earlier in the day, Bush put in a strong performance, providing forceful answers and gaining frequent applause from the big name donors in the room. He showed a sense of humor. When Allen asked him about the Paleo diet, Bush recommended people "cheat on Sundays."

Catching the double meaning, he added, to laughter, "Cheat on your diet on Sundays."

Bush revealed that during a foreign policy speech next week he will outline a strategy to take on the Islamic State.

As for his record-setting fundraising, Bush made no apologies and said he’d continue to raise the resources. “Money helps,” he said. “And if people don’t like it, that’s just tough luck.”

Bush defended his goal of 4 percent annual economic growth against critics who call it unreasonable and said immigration reform is part of that, shifting to a merit-based system over the current family-centered policy.

Of Donald Trump, Bush said, “I get the anger,” but added that real policy solutions are needed and again took a shot at Washington. “Nothing's happening. People are angry. People are frustrated.”

[Last modified: Sunday, August 2, 2015 11:06pm]


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