If it smells like a lobbyist | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If it smells like a lobbyist

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:15 PM

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Joyce Elliott, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, led the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers when it struck over a contract dispute in 1988 when the average teacher made less than $22,000. This is very bad, Tim Griffin, her Republican opponent, says.

In 2009, Tim Griffin made almost a half-million dollars working for Washington, D.C., political lobbying and consulting firms on shadowy causes, including one of the greasiest outfits formerly afloat, Freedom Works. He did $66,000 worth of consulting work helping miners oppose an Alaska clean water ballot initiative, but none dare call that lobbying.

So who do you think is for the working man based on this record? Hint: Don't put your money on Tim Griffin. He extolled the 30 percent national sales tax plan before it became politically inconvenient. He also has spoken warmly of the Ryan plan to shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class. Surprise.

The Elliott campaign jumps Griffin on the record. If only it mattered.

ELLIOTT NEWS RELEASE

Tim Griffin is allowing the Republican Party of Arkansas to do his dirty work for him. Yesterday, the Republican Party issued a press release that criticized Senator Joyce Elliott for standing up for better pay for public school teachers in 1988. In 1988, the average public school teacher in Arkansas made $21,692.

In 2009, Mr. Griffin made more than $440,000 working for a pack of consulting and Washington D.C. lobbying firms. His personal finance disclosure filed with the Legislative Resource Center, shows Mr. Griffin made $448, 184 working for Mercury Public Affairs, Hawthorn Group, Kearsage Global Advisors (now called Sphere Consulting), and the now defunct Freedom’s Watch all of which have or had major lobbying operations in Washington D.C.

“Earning the 1988 average income for Arkansas teachers, an Arkansas school teacher who has worked every year for the last 20 years and saved every dime, would still have made $14,000 less than Mr. Griffin did in one year working for a bunch of Washington D.C. lobbyists and political consultants,” stated spokesperson Marisa Pryor.

In turn, it should not surprise the voters of Arkansas to learn that Mr. Griffin supports an array of tax plans that would give huge tax giveaways to folks like him but further burden middle class families. Mr. Griffin has said the budget Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposed was “all in all...a great plan” and had a lot of “great stuff in it.”

Mr. Ryan’s budget calls for a tax break of $1.7 million for people who make more than $3 million a year, but it would raise taxes on the middle class.

In addition, Congressman Ryan’s plan would “privatize a substantial portion of Social Security” and “end traditional Medicare and most of Medicaid.”

In the primary, Mr. Griffin said he was “absolutely for a Fair Tax.”

The so called “Fair Tax” would impose a 23% sales tax on anything and everything Arkansans purchased. A middle class family would face an additional 23% tax on groceries, cars, and medicine.

Recently, Mr. Griffin said he favors a Flat Tax, the most well known flat tax plan was proposed by Congressman Dick Armey, and it called for an end to the homeowner’s deduction and deductions for charitable donations.

The U.S Treasury Department’s own report said a flat tax would add $138 billion every year to our federal deficit, and we could expect a $300 billion shortfall for the latest version Mr. Griffin seems to support that allows people to keep deductions like the mortgage interest deduction.

The Tim Griffin standard is to criticize school teachers who want to earn more than $21,000 a year, while he rakes in more than $440,000 a year working for Washington D.C. lobbying and consulting firms. The Tim Griffin standard is to support a plan that will give folks who make over $3 million a year a huge tax break, even if it means raising taxes on thousands of Arkansas middle class families. The Tim Griffin standard is to say reducing the federal deficit is your number one goal, but then support policies that would mushroom our federal deficit by hundreds of billions a dollars a year.

NOTE: Griffin's campaign said about half his income derived from commercial litigation work for Eagle Metal Products.

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