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No new taxes: the new mainstream


By Chuck Muth
November 18, 2010

Here’s the position fiscal conservatives who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge have taken with regard to Nevada’s budget: Everything’s on the table but tax and fee hikes.

And for taking such a hard-line, unwavering, uncompromising position, Pledge signers and fiscal conservatives have been roundly criticized by moderate Republicans such as, for example, former state Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert.

Recall that Gansert warned during the 2009 legislative session, and 2010 campaigns, that if conservative legislative Republicans took tax hikes off the table they wouldn’t get a seat at the table. As such, she openly and aggressively dissuaded caucus members and candidates from signing the Tax Pledge.

But Gansert is singing an entirely new tune now that Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval, generally considered a moderate himself, has tapped her to be his new chief-of-staff. Get this: On Anjeanette Damon’s “To the Point” television show last week, Gansert was asked if “fee increases will be part of the budget” Sandoval will submit in January. Gansert’s response …

“I don’t believe that fee increases or taxes will be part of this budget. I know they won’t. . . . Everything’s on the table except for the taxes and the fees.”

My gosh. If a conservative had said such a thing two years ago, Gansert herself, not to mention the media, would have had a cow and called said person a right-wing radical extremist. They might even have called them an “Angle Republican.” Seems to me Ms. Gansert owes the Pledge-signing fiscal conservatives in her former caucus an apology.

What was once “extreme” is now mainstream.

How mainstream? Now get a load of this one from the New York Times:

“(Rahm) Emanuel – who announced on Saturday what was by then obvious, that he really is running (for mayor of Chicago) – is promising major policy addresses on education, crime and city finances in the coming months, and has already said that this is no time to ‘even talk about raising taxes.’ He said he wants to change the culture of city government so it is no longer an ‘insider’s game,’ to phase out the so-called ‘head tax’ that companies pay on each employee and to reduce no-bid contracts.”

Oh, how times have changed!

And by the way, if an anti-business socialist like Rahm Emanuel sees the folly of penalizing employers for hiring out-of-work workers and is calling for the end of the employee “head tax,” why aren’t Republican legislators here in Nevada calling for repeal of our own “head tax” – the modified business tax – instead of calling for a new tax on groceries?

Forest Gump was right: Stupid is as stupid does. And he apparently had Nevada’s assembly GOP leadership in mind.

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at [email protected].

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