— Rep. Tom Marino says his position on taxes has not changed since an interview he disputed in August.
Marino was part of an extensive interview in August and suggested that he would be open to raising taxes on the top 1 or 2 percent of wage earners if that money went to reduce the deficit and cut spending.
But just a few days later, Marino went on a local radio show and disputed the story, saying his words were taken out of context.
During another interview with this newspaper on Monday of this week, Marino apologized for what he said about the newspaper story and basically stood firm on his position that everything should be on the table when it comes to taxes.
"I said you folks personally did that? Well, I'm sorry," said Marino.
Marino then was asked why the radio station was contacted but not the newspaper when they felt their was a mistake.
"The radio contacted me. I'm not backtracking on anything," said Marino.
Marino then went on to say there are many conditions which would have to met before he would consider any increase of taxes to deal with the budget and deficit problems.
"I still believe we have a spending problem, not a taxing problem," said Marino, who is in his first term in the House.
He also said he believes taxes are still too high.
But he also said that all sides of the issue have to be discussed in trying to find a solution.
He said the conditions of reducing the deficit and cutting spending are a prerequisite to any discussions about taxes.
Marino said "everything has to be on the table before we sit down and try to come up with a solution."
He said he would "have to be assured" of those conditions "before I'm ready to vote."
But he also stressed the middle class needs relief.
"Tax increases certainly should not be on the middle class," said Marino.
But even before there is any talk about revenue increases, Marino again stressed many things have to fall in place.
"Even before discussions, we need to be assured we are going to significantly lower the spending; seriously cut down the size of government in D.C., because I feel there is a great deal of waste there.
"Then, we can talk about how else are we going to be able to help lower the debt."
That's where Marino said everything can be on the table.
"I'm not opposed to entering in those conversations with everything on the table," said Marino.
Page 2 of 2 - "But, before I'd entertain anything like that, there needs to be an absolute clear agreement that spending is going to be significantly lower and that we downsize government.
"Anything that we can do to lower the debt, as far as I'm concerned, is on the table."
He also was asked by the Grover Nordquist pledge he signed which says he will never vote to raise taxes.
In the previous interview, Marino said he was not sure if he did sign that pledge.
A check by this newspaper found that he did sign the pledge.
On Monday, Marino verified he did sign the pledge.
Marino said it "goes back to my same premise I've said all along, we don't have a taxing problem we have a spending problem."
Marino said some people viewed the headline of the story as the problem. He said it was something to the effect of, "Marino will raise taxes."
The actual headline in the Aug. 29, 2012 edition said, "Surprise, yet blunt opinions."
"The headline came across to a great deal of conservatives, which I am one of, that I'm going to raise taxes. I want to make it perfectly clear I am not going to raise taxes."
We'll have more of our interview with Marino in tomorrow's edition.