Republican members of the Assembly still staunchly opposed to the proposed tax plan complained bitterly on Sunday that leadership wouldn’t even allow a caucus discussion of the plan following Saturday’s hearing on AB464.
“All we’re asking is to have a discussion about the largest tax increase, almost $1.5 billion,” said Ira Hansen, R-Sparks.
The impromptu press conference came as the Assembly was preparing to meet and vote on the tax bill.
Hansen said he and the others including John Ellison of Elko, Jim Wheeler of Gardnerville, Jill Dickman of Sparks, Michelle Fiore and Victoria Seaman of Las Vegas were told no when they asked for a caucus meeting.
“We were told we will not be allowed a caucus meeting to discuss the biggest bill of the session,” said Hansen.
He said they were told they weren’t going to change anyone’s vote anyway.
He also complained about what he described as “a very aggressive effort by the governor’s staff,” lobbying for the bill’s passage.
“They’ve been lobbying as aggressively as the most professional lobbyists in the building,” Hansen said describing it as “a violation of the separation of powers.”
He said they have also been unable to find several swing Republicans reportedly voting for the tax plan including Carson City’s P.K. O’Neill, David Gardner, Erven Nelson and Glen Trowbridge of Southern Nevada to discuss the issue with them.
He said their offices were closed.
Derek Armstrong of Las Vegas and James Oscarson of Pahrump have already announced support for the plan.
He said they intended to go to the floor and try their best to block the tax plan but even Hansen said he doubted they have the votes to do so.
The tax plan must receive a constitutional two-thirds vote to pass — 28 yes votes no matter how many of the 42 lawmakers are present at the time.
Two of the opponents’ backers, Victoria Dooling and John Moore, were absent on Sunday, Dooling because of the death of her husband and Moore for medical reasons.