Chuck Muth: Warning to psychotic Nevada tax pirates

Democrats and Republicans infected with tax-hike fever in Carson City should take a look at the election results that came out of Illinois this week.

That goes double for Senate Higher Taxation Committee Chairman Bob Coffin (D-Las Vegas), a man who never met a tax he didn't hike. So far this session Sen. Coffin has called for raising the statewide sales tax by a full percentage point, jacking up the diesel tax on truckers, and establishing a new flat (on your back) tax on working girls.

Meanwhile, Sen. Coffin and his legislative colleagues (not counting a few principled conservative Republicans) " aided and abetted by Gov. Gibbons " already have passed the third largest tax increase in state history and have proposed higher "sin" taxes on alcohol and tobacco (hey, what about firearms?). They're also mulling an increase in the tax penalties on Nevada's remaining small business owners who continue to provide jobs and generate revenue in the middle of this recession.

All this tax hike talk isn't sitting well with one of Nevada's most successful entrepreneurs in history, Steve Wynn.

"Anybody who raises taxes now is purely psychotic," the Las Vegas casino executive said in a TV interview this week. "Every time they touch a tax now, you can increase the unemployment line at the culinary union and every place else in this city."

But back to Illinois, the old stomping grounds of President "Spread the Wealth" Obama.

Last year Cook County " which encompasses Chicago and its surrounding suburbs " passed a one-cent hike in the sales tax, earning it the distinction of now "enjoying" the highest sales tax rate in the nation. As a result, reports John Fund of Political Diary, voters in three suburban communities "all voted to secede from Cook County" in advisory questions on Tuesday. In addition, "voters turned thumbs-down against the tax increase itself in non-binding referendums."

Oh, and "incumbent mayors throughout the county also lost re-election bids."

If what just happened in Cook County is any indication of how voters in these tough economic times will respond to "psychotic" tax hikes in Nevada, Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley's gubernatorial ambitions will go up in smoke next year, as well as the electoral hopes of many state legislators " Democrat and Republican alike " who are panting for another term or wish to move up to higher office in 2010.

It'd almost be worth it.

And just in case the Illinois experience isn't enough to persuade Nevada legislators to leave our booty alone, hundreds of average taxpaying citizens will be gathering at TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties in Carson City and Las Vegas next Tuesday to rally against out-of-control tax-and-spend policies. Tax pirates, ye be warned.

- Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a limited-government public policy organization.


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