Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist targets ethanol subsidy

CHICAGO Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:09pm EDT

Grover Norquist, chairman of Americans for Tax Reform, speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington June 3, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Grover Norquist, chairman of Americans for Tax Reform, speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington June 3, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist has made a career out of opposing taxes and subsidies, and the ethanol tax credit is no exception.

Since he founded Americans for Tax Reform in 1985 at the behest of then president Ronald Reagan, Norquist has fought against taxes at the federal, state and local levels.

"Americans for Tax Reform and the overwhelmingly majority of the conservative movement support full repeal of the ethanol mandate, ethanol tariff, and the ethanol tax credit," the organization said on its website.

While Norquist and his allies failed to eliminate or modify the ethanol tax credit in a Senate vote on Tuesday, they served notice that it will not give up.

Norquist and his organization have for more than 25 years sought to hold politicians' feet to the fire on taxes.

One way is the so-called "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" which enlists all candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose tax increases. In the 112th Congress, 236 of the 435 House members and 40 of the 100 Senators Senators have taken the pledge, while 13 of 50 state governors and 1249 state legislators have also taken the vow.

Americans for Tax Reform told signers of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge that voting to repeal the ethanol tax credit would be consistent with their pledge.

Norquist also chairs a "Wednesday Meeting" every week of more than 150 conservative political officials and activists to coordinate lobbying efforts in Washington. The meetings started in 1993, further cementing Norquist's role as a Conservative leader with clout among his peers. Norquist also serves on numerous boards, including the National Rifle Association, the American Conservative Union, and The Nixon Center.

Norquist is a native of Massachusetts and completed his Master of Business Administration and Bachelors degrees at Harvard University.

(Editing by Greg McCune)

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