Courting conservatives, Jeb Bush rejects trading tax hikes for spending cuts

In a question-and-answer session at the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce summer conference on Saturday, where Bush addressed about 450 top Republican donors, he told Politico’s Mike Allen that he would not strike a deal that raised taxes in exchange for spending cuts. Three years ago, as the government approached the so-called fiscal cliff, congressional Democrats offered Republicans just that deal. At that time, Bush said he supported the notion of trading spending cuts for tax increases.

“If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we’re going to have $10 in spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement — put me in, coach,” Bush told a group of bipartisan lawmakers. That was also in the midst of the 2012 presidential election, when the proposal was roundly rejected by all of the Republican presidential candidates. Bush said his embrace of the compromise measure would prove “I’m not running for anything.”

A spokesman for Bush, Tim Miller, declined to address the governor’s apparent change of heart but says that his record on taxes is “unimpeachable.”