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Big-Business Lobby Prods Candidates on Taxes

A new grass-roots campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will press House and Senate candidates to support the extension of expiring Bush administration-era tax cuts and other revenue proposals.

The big-business lobby’s latest blitz is part of its “Campaign for Free Enterprise” and marks the first time it will attempt to organize its members using text messaging. The chamber has also set up a Facebook page to support its efforts, reaching out to voters that the campaign’s director, Stan Anderson, said are “not your traditional chamber members.”

The chamber will also use low-tech methods to get its word out. Using local chamber affiliates, the group will distribute pocket-sized cards titled “Is Your Candidate Free Enterprise Friendly?”

The voter cards encourage chamber members across the country to ask candidates: “Do you believe tax increases hurt job creation?” and “Do you believe that the uncertainty resulting from pending tax increases, higher government deficits, and more government regulations will hurt the economy?”

Anderson declined to provide a price tag for the campaign. He said the announcement of the group’s effort was unrelated to a recent White House proposal for a new spending package that could include some tax increases.

In the next two months, the chamber will hold related events in Texas and Illinois, Anderson said. In a statement, Anderson repeated a mantra heard in tough Congressional races across the country: “This election is about the economy.”

“Our message for these events is simply this: If you’re a politician, we want to make sure your top priority is in line with that of the American people,” he added. “We need to put policies in place that will get our country’s job creators hiring again and turn this economy around.”

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