The 'No New Taxes' Pledge

13 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2004

See all articles by Brennan Kelly

Brennan Kelly

AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies

William G. Gale

Brookings Institution


This paper examines the No New Taxes Pledge, which has been signed by the President and 258 members of Congress. Although it is intended to restrict the size of government, the pledge probably hinders rather than helps efforts to restore fiscal responsibility. Evidence from trends in aggregate taxes and spending, the success or failure of budget rules, and the voting records of pledge signers casts doubt on the view that signing the pledge is an effective effort to starve the beast or an act of fiscal responsibility. If all of the signers uphold the pledge, it will prove impossible to repeal any part of the 2001, 2002, and 2003 tax cuts before President Bush leaves office, though the legislation could expire as scheduled even if all the signers supported extension. The pledge may also have implications for appropriate budget scoring rules.

Keywords: No new taxes pledge, budget, voting records

JEL Classification: H20, H61

Suggested Citation

Kelly, Brennan and Gale, William G., The 'No New Taxes' Pledge. Available at SSRN:

Brennan Kelly

AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

William G. Gale (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-797-6148 (Phone)
202-797-6181 (Fax)

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