(Chuck Muth) – Republican Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea called for almost a billion dollars worth of new taxes on Monday, including more than half of that amount from a new tax on…..groceries.
“I believe that we should have had a 2 percent sales tax on food on the ballot this fall,” Goicoechea declared on Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers program.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, according to what passes for “leadership” among Republicans in the lower house of the Legislature, the cure for Nevada’s ailing economy and budget shortfall in the midst of the worst recession in the nation’s history….is to start taxing milk and butter and eggs and cheese.
Oh, and baby food.
“It is truly unfortunate that anyone would suggest raising taxes at this time,” responded Assemblyman John Hambrick, Las Vegas Republican, in a written response to Goicoechea’s proposal. “Increasing a tax on food would punish the poor and unemployed. Clark County has a current 14.8% unemployment rate and would suffer even more should this lack-luster idea go forward.”
Randi Thompson, a longtime grassroots activist and Republican state Assembly candidate in Reno, also expressed dissatisfaction with Goicoechea’s remarks.
“We need to be making demands to cut spending and stand up for the taxpayers,” Thompson said in an email. “I will not follow the leader to raise taxes. The GOP needs to stand up and fight for making fundamental changes to the way we spend money and what we spend it on. As Ronald Reagan would say, Nevada’s citizens aren’t under-taxed; Nevada’s government over-spends.”
And lest there be any confusion, Goicoechea was not talking about tax “reform” along the lines of that suggested by the libertarian Nevada Policy Research Institute last month. NPRI’s proposal was “revenue neutral” and included a food tax “rebate” for everyone.
No, Goicoechea’s proposal is simply a new way to sock it to families by leveling a new tax on food as a way to give the government an additional half-billion dollars to spend. It is anything but “revenue neutral.”
The NPRI proposal is fine for an intellectual debate or bar fight. But what kind of meathead (pun intended) political leader would be so foolish as to propose taxing groceries just two months before an election?
This hare-brained proposal comes a little over a year after Goicoechea, who has consistently refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, voted for that anti-tourist $292 million room tax hike last year even though the voters of his district in Lander County voted overwhelmingly against it in an advisory question that appeared on the 2008 ballot.
Talk about stuck on stupid. Is this really the platform that Republican candidates for the state assembly want to run on this fall? And was Goicoechea speaking for his entire caucus when he proposed taxing fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store? Does this appear somewhere in the Republican Party platform and I somehow missed it?
This is one of those classic examples proving the age-old wisdom that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
Let me avoid the Christmas rush by taking this opportunity right now to be the first person to call for Pete Goicoechea to IMMEDIATELY resign as Minority Leader before he does his caucus, his party and his state any further damage.
Goicoechea is, as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform so eloquently puts it, a rat head in a Coke bottle. He’s ruining the GOP brand. He can’t be reasoned with. He won’t “grow” in office as a fiscal conservative. And you can’t fix stupid.
And this was the stupidest thing I’ve heard a political leader say since Walter Mondale told everyone in 1984 he would raise their taxes if elected president.
Oh, no…Pete has got to go…Go-go-coe-chea.