Illinois Senator on Obama's Tax Hike Record

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 26, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, exposing Barack Obama's tax record. Republicans say it ain't good. A new report says he supported more than 300 tax hikes during his eight years in the Illinois State Senate. Would he do the same if he became president of the United States?

Illinois State Senator Dan Cronin has crunched those numbers.

Senator, how do you come up with the 300?

DAN CRONIN (R), ILLINOIS STATE SENATOR: Well, you know, if you look at the record, there's a lot of votes that were cast over a long period of time.

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There's, you know, big bills that — that contain host of fees and tax increases. Virtually anything you can imagine that can be taxed pretty much has been voted on by Senator Obama to be taxed.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, there are a lot of ways you can read 300 different votes. I am sure they weren't exclusively tax hikes. They might have been part of other legislation. So, how many of them were exclusively to raise taxes for a specific program or initiative?

CRONIN: Well, I think — I mean, I think the — the point that I would like to make, if I may, is that, you know, look at Senator Obama, and he's a very likable guy. He is a former colleague of mine. He is a gentlemen.

I — you know, I just think — I hate to be the one that — or be someone that is attempting to burst the bubble here. I just am hopeful that there would be some more objective, realistic, down-to-earth dialogue about credentials.

CAVUTO: Well, Senator, no one doubts that. I think you're right. He is a very likable guy. And he does have sort of a liberal spending record. And when it comes to even advocating tax hikes today, especially on the upper income and businesses, you are quite right. He does have sort of predilection for preferring the increases.

Nevertheless, when his camp hears 300 individual tax hikes, they say you are exaggerating, and they say you are taking some votes out of context and not looking at the entire thing he voted on.

CRONIN: Well, there may be truth to that.

I mean, I think you just have to kind of look and take a step back and see what is happening here in Illinois. Look at the business climate. Look at the fiscal climate. This is not a place that is very friendly to business. It's a high-tax, high-regulatory state.

We lag in the nation.


CRONIN: We are behind all of our neighboring states in the Midwest in terms of tax increases...

CAVUTO: All righty.

CRONIN: ... tax increases that we have catalogued, death taxes, gas taxes, gaming taxes, business taxes, liquor taxes, renewable energy, estate taxes, tax on business income.

CAVUTO: And he raised them all, I guess. He raised them all.

All right. We will see. It's a great debate, Senator.

CRONIN: You know, I'm not — I'm not trying to...


CAVUTO: My argument here is that, you know, when you say 300, and you say he raised taxes 300 times, I think you are kind of being a little disingenuous with those numbers. But...

CRONIN: Well, I am not suggesting the 300. That was not my proposition here.


CRONIN: My proposition is simply that, you know, if you are looking for someone to lead the business economy...


CAVUTO: Got you, Senator. We have to go. We have to go.


CAVUTO: Thank you very much.

CRONIN: Thank you.

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