The Facts About Mike Huckabee:


Setting the Record Straight About a Principled Conservative


Michael T. Griffith



There has been a great deal of distortion and disinformation about Mike Huckabee’s record as governor of Arkansas.  It’s important that conservatives know the truth about Huckabee’s record, especially since he may run for president again in 2012.  So let’s take a look at his record.  As governor, he:


* Cut the state capital gains tax rate by 25%.
* Abolished capital gains taxes on home sales.
* Abolished the state marriage penalty tax.
* Pushed through the first broad-based tax cuts in decades, saving taxpayers nearly $400 million.
* Indexed income tax brackets to inflation, thus protecting taxpayers from being pushed into higher tax brackets by inflation.
* Doubled the child-care tax credit.
* Increased the tax deduction for single individuals to $2,000.
* Increased the tax deduction for married couples to $4,000.
* Banned illegal aliens from getting drivers licenses.
* Helped pass an unborn child amendment to state constitution.
* Helped pass a traditional marriage amendment to state constitution.
* Pushed through a property owners’ bill of rights that limited property tax hikes and protected homeowners from unfair tax assessments.
* Pushed through homeschooling-friendly legislation.
* Limited the increase in the overall rate of state spending to 4.9% (AFI)--not bad, considering that he was dealing with a Democratic legislature.
* Protected gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits.
* Removed restrictions on concealed handgun permit holders.
* Pushed through legislation that allowed the state to fire school boards and school superintendents in school districts that were chronically performing badly.
* When faced with a $227 million deficit for fiscal year 2002, refused to call for a tax increase and instead called for a massive cut in state spending.


Yes, Huckabee did raise taxes overall, but he raised them for valid reasons, i.e., to pay for badly needed improvements to state highways and the state park system, and to hire more teachers (the state's population increased substantially during his tenure).

Michael Medved has noted the following about Huckabee's fiscal record:


Meanwhile, it’s also worth a few lines here to defend the Arkansan from the claim that he’s a secret “big government liberal” or, in the phrase of the Club for Growth, “Tax Hike Mike.”


According to figures from the non-partisan Tax Foundation (based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce), Huckabee’s term as governor (1996-2007) led to a modest increase in the overall State-Local tax burden for Arkansas: from 10.1% in the year he became governor to 11.1% the last year he served. In terms of overall tax burden (state-local-federal) Arkansas remained virtually unchanged--- from 30.3% (39th among the 50 states) to 30.5% (32nd place).


Mitt Romney, on the other hand, saw sharper increases in taxes during his single gubernatorial term (2003 to 2007) in Massachusetts. The state-local burden rose from 9.8% the year of his election to 10.5% his last year as governor. Meanwhile, the total tax burden went up from 31.2% to 33.9% -- vaulting Massachusetts from 9th place to 7th place in the nation.


These numbers don’t prove that Huckabee was a great governor, or that Romney was a poor governor: actually, both men count as exemplary public servants and authentic conservatives (and both of them have taken Grover Norquist’s “No New Taxes” Pledge—in contrast to their rivals Giuliani, Thompson and McCain, who have refused to do so). Both candidates deserve respect for doing a solid job in handling state legislatures with overwhelming Democratic majorities and scoring some notable achievements as governor (though both states flipped to Democratic control in 2006). ("What's Behind the Huckabee Surge?",


Political consultant and former White House advisor Dick Morris agrees that on balance Huckabee’s fiscal record is conservative:

As his political consultant in the early '90s and as one who has been following Arkansas politics for 30 years, let me clue you in: Mike Huckabee is a fiscal conservative.

A recent column by Bob Novak excoriated Huckabee for a "47 percent increase in state tax burden." But during Huckabee's years in office, total state tax burden — all 50 states combined — rose by twice as much: 98 percent, increasing from $743 billion in 1993 to $1.47 trillion in 2005.

In Arkansas, the income tax when he took office was 1 percent for the poorest taxpayers and 7 percent for the richest, exactly where it stood when he left the statehouse 11 years later. But, in the interim, he doubled the standard deduction and the child care credit, repealed capital gains taxes for home sales, lowered the capital gains rate, expanded the homestead exemption, and set up tax-free savings accounts for medical care and college tuition.

Most impressively, when he had to pass an income tax surcharge amid the drop in revenues after Sept. 11, 2001, he repealed it three years later when he didn't need it any longer.

He raised the sales tax one cent in 11 years and did that only after the courts ordered him to do so. (He also got voter approval for a one-eighth cent hike for parks and recreation.)

He wants to repeal the income tax, abolish the IRS, and institute a "fair tax" based on consumption, and he opposes any tax increase for Social Security.  (

Another way to answer the attack that Huckabee raised taxes overall is to say the following: Suppose there was a man that was called to be the president of a company. The company was $200 million in debt and his companies’ assets in equipment were one billion dollars less than his fifty other competitors. He decided to borrow $505.1 million to turn his company around. After ten years he was able to pay back $378 million on his investment loan. In addition, during the ten years he added one billion dollars in new equipment and improvements to his company. The most amazing accomplishment was that he left $844 million in cash in the operating account at the company. Now, would anyone say this man didn't do an outstanding job managing the company? Of course not. Well, this is essentially what Mike Huckabee did as governor of the state of Arkansas.


In addition, during the 2007-2008 Republican primary, Huckabee signed the Americans for Tax Reform's Presidential Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which states he will "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses . . . and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."


Huckabee supports the Fair Tax plan, which would be a significant improvement over our current tax system and would provide a great boost to our economy:

During the GOP primary, Huckabee also  signed the very tough Numbers USA pledge to secure the border and to oppose granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Numbers USA gives Huckabee very solid ratings overall on his positions on illegal immigration and border security:


Some critics have made much of the fact that Huckabee opposed a voucher plan in Arkansas, but he did so at the urging of Christian private school associations that were worried that vouchers would open the door to state control of their schools.  Ann Coulter has charged that Huckabee agrees with the Supreme Court’s claim in Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy is a constitutional right.  However, in point of fact Huckabee rejects this assertion:


Ann Coulter's comments are based on a response I made during a radio call-in show in which a caller asked what I thought about the Supreme Court ruling on Lawrence v. Texas. At the time I had not read the ruling and was basing my opinion on the summary by the caller. After reading the decision I believe it is obvious that the ruling was wrongly decided. Lawrence v. Texas is an extreme example of judicial activism. It could, in fact, be inappropriately used to attack our marriage laws nationwide.


I am in agreement with the dissent by Justices Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas:


“[The ruling] dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is 'no legitimate state interest' for purposes of proscribing that conduct, . . what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising 'the liberty protected by the Constitution'?”


Furthermore, As Justice Thomas said, we might disagree with the wisdom of a law, but that is the province of the Legislature, not unelected judges. No such activist justices will be appointed as long as I am President.


I wish Ms. Coulter had contacted me or my campaign to discuss my position in detail before writing her column. I would have appreciated the opportunity to clarify this matter. (


Below are some good links on Huckabee's conservative credentials:


Mike Griffith
Let Freedom Ring website