Commentary: Tied hands make pick-pocketing harder

Former federal judge Brian Sandoval declared himself a candidate for governor this week and immediately announced that while raising taxes "right now is not the answer," he wasn't going to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge because it would "tie his hands."

Uh-oh. Where have I heard that before? Oh, that's right. During last year's campaigns by other candidates who also refused to have their hands tied by the Tax Pledge:

Sen. Bill Raggio assured voters: "This is not the time to start talking about raising taxes. It is something we can't even consider." But after the election was over, Sen. Raggio immediately began talking about and considering $1 billion worth of new taxes.

Sen. Steven Horsford said: "I won't vote for tax increases next session - not when the private sector is losing revenue and losing jobs." Sen. Horsford then proceeded to shove $1 billion worth of higher taxes down our throats.

Assemblywoman April Mastroluca said: "I can't see the people of Nevada being able to afford tax increases." She then voted for over $1 billion worth of higher taxes.

Sen. Allison Copening said: "I'm not an advocate of taxation in this climate." Despite the fact that the economic climate only got worse, Sen. Copening went on to vote for over $1 billion worth of higher taxes.

"There's no appetite for new taxes," said Assemblyman Paul Aizley, before chowing down on over $1 billion worth of higher taxes.

"I really have no appetite for raising taxes," Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop said, before breaking her diet and voting for over $1 billion worth of higher taxes.

"I don't see increasing taxes as an option," said Assemblyman Mark Manendo, before seeing his way to voting for $1 billion worth of increased taxes.

"There's no way we can have a tax increase," declared Sen. Shirley Breeden. "People can't afford it. No one can." And yet Breeden voted for over $1 billion worth tax increases.

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall declared, "I won't vote for tax increases next session." Of course, he then voted for over $1 billion worth of tax hikes in the next session.

As you can see, although signing the tax pledge is no guarantee that a politician won't break his or her word, failure to sign the pledge almost guarantees votes for higher taxes.

Gov. Jim Gibbons, the man Brian Sandoval wants to replace, signed the tax pledge and, for the most part, has honored it. Why should taxpayers trade in a man who has taken tax hikes off the table for one who will leave them on? Why replace a man with tied hands on taxes with one whose untied hands could still pick our pockets? Inquiring taxpayer minds wanna know.

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

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