If you believe Nevada's government is bigger than it should be and don't want your taxes raised, you should ask any and all legislative candidates who ask for your vote to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes. Period. Because if they won't sign it, there's a very good chance they'll vote to raise taxes next year.
The Pledge is nothing new. It's been around for over 20 years now " and almost every Republican member of Congress has signed it, as well as over 1,000 state legislators around the country. In Nevada, Gov. Jim Gibbons, Sen. John Ensign, Rep. Jon Porter and Rep. Dean Heller, along with a number of fiscally conservative state legislators in both the state Senate and state Assembly, have taken The Pledge. Which drives the big-government crowd bonkers.
Unfortunately, too many Republican state legislators and legislative candidates in Nevada are refusing to take this firm stand against tax hikes. Their excuses are legion. They're also lame. "Trust me," many will tell you. "I'm opposed to tax hikes. I don't need to sign any pledge. Just take my word for it. I'm a Republican after all."
Yeah, right. Does anyone remember a certain Republican candidate famously saying, "Read my lips, no new taxes"?
In addition, also recall that the largest tax increase in Nevada's history back in 2003 was proposed by a Republican governor and 15 Republican legislators voted for it. And that doesn't even include GOP legislators such as Assemblyman Tom Grady and Assemblyman Pete Goichoechea, who said back then they would vote for a huge tax hike, just not a super-huge tax hike.
Gee, thanks guys.
Another objection I hear quite often came this week from a Republican Assembly candidate in Las Vegas who explained, "I've learned over the years never to say never."
Really? I wonder exactly when he learned that lesson? I'm guessing it was sometime AFTER promising his wife on their wedding day that he was taking her "to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others, 'til death do us part."
I mean, if your philosophy is to "never say never," then shouldn't those old marriage vows be made a bit more flexible? Shouldn't we take out the part about "til death do us part" and insert some kind of escape clause that acknowledges that when it comes to being faithful, "everything is on the table"? I mean, it's just not right to never say never, right?
Meanwhile, here in Carson City, Republican Assembly candidate Cheryl Lau appeared last week on Nevada Newsmakers and was asked if she was going to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Ms. Lau responded: "My philosophy is don't raise taxes, and that's very clear. And it seems like, why sign a pledge when that is one's philosophy?"
Here, I'll tell you why.
Because back in early June Ms. Lau told an audience at a candidate forum that she might support a new "weight and distance" tax on the trucking industry " which would raise the cost of goods and services for each and every one of us. Ms. Lau also said on the show that she might be OK voting for a tax hike if a certain industry (probably with a gun to its head or an ulterior motive) says it wants its own taxes raised.
So it seems her philosophy about tax hikes isn't quite so clear after all, is it?
Because politicians, including Republicans, have a history, habit and pre-disposition to talk out of both sides of their mouths, I'd rather get one's "philosophy" regarding tax hikes in writing, preferably in blood. After all, if they won't promise to be faithful to us before they get elected, what are our chances afterward once a sweet-talking lobbyist gets hold of them?
- Chuck Muth, of Carson City, is president and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a political blogger. Read his views Fridays on the Appeal Opinion page or visit www.muthstruths.com. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org