(Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach) – Nevadans all across the state are “fioreous” over the recently passed largest tax hike in Nevada’s history – including the creation of a new gross receipts tax very similar to the one Nevada voters overwhelmingly rejected last November by almost 80 percent!
And there are two distinct camps preparing to counter-attack in the 2016 campaign season.
The first is Nevada’s business community – even the 90 percent of smaller companies for which the new gross receipts tax doesn’t (yet) apply. Because they know, as sure as night follows day, that it’s just a matter of time before the government lowers the threshold to make sure everybody is paying their “fair share.”
The misleadingly misnamed “Commerce Tax” is a textbook case of “Camel’s Nose Legislation.”
As regular readers know, there are a number of groups looking into the possibility of repealing all or part of this tax hike through the referendum process, including the already-formed NV80 PAC (named for the 80 percent of Nevadans who voted against the gross receipts tax last election) created by talk-show hostess-with-the-mostest Theresa Catalani up in Reno.
Catalani’s effort appears to be focused singularly on stripping out the new gross receipts tax before it takes root, probably a strategically wise decision considering the mess that’s gonna be involved with the dueling “single subject” rules in going after the entire tax hike abomination.
Catalani is being ably assisted by conservative Nevada State Controller Ron Knecht, who along with his “right”-hand man, Geoff Lawrence, drafted the conservative budget alternative that would have and could have funded all of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s so-called education initiatives WITHOUT raising taxes.
And Citizen Outreach’s We Decide Coalition continues to research the legal challenges we’ll have to overcome in order to pursue putting the entire $1.4 billion tax hike on the ballot. Going after the whole enchilada would be a far tougher fight, but it’s a fight well worth having.
DEPLOYING THE “RIGHT” FLANK
The second distinct group of activists fighting back against the tax hike are Republicans.
No, not the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) who voted for the largest tax hike in history, including the new gross receipts tax. Real Republicans.
Grassroots Republicans. Conservative Republicans. Principled Republicans. Republicans who truly and actually believe in limited, essential-only government and low taxes.
Those Republicans were sold out. They were lied to. They were defrauded by snake oil-selling Republicans who campaigned as conservatives but voted like liberal Democrats.
You know, Mike Roberson Republicans.
And there WILL be a reckoning in GOP primaries next year.
And now, a little history lesson…
Back in 2012, now-Assemblyman Jim Wheeler ran against then-Assemblyman Kelly Kite in a GOP primary in Douglas County. It was a true conservative vs. moderate matchup by a viable, credible challenger against a tax-hiking incumbent.
In 2011, Kite voted to extend the “temporary” tax hikes passed by some Republicans in 2009 over conservative then-Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto which were supposed to expire – “sunset” – in 2011.
Wheeler, on the other hand, signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising the voters of the district that he would “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes” (though he had a couple of minor lapses this 2015 session).
Wheeler won the upset victory and set the stage for additional, serious conservative vs. moderate GOP primaries in 2011.
In fact, Wheeler himself was challenged last year by a candidate who refused to sign the Tax Pledge and was backed by the GOP establishment. She was well-funded while Wheeler had trouble raising bus fare.
Wheeler won anyway. In a walk.
Other conservatives also won GOP primary contests all over the state against GOP establishment-backed moderate candidates.
Dr. Robin Titus won in her rural Nevada district. Jill Dickman won a HUGE upset in Washoe County. And Lisa Krasner came within a dozen votes of unseating Assemblyman Randy “Kirner Tax” Kirner (RINO-Kirner Tax) in Reno.
In addition, several conservatives in Clark County won primaries, or avoided them, last year and went on to win seats in the general election. They included Assemblyman John Moore, Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton, Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, Assemblyman Brent Jones and Assemblywoman Vicki Dooling.
And while not ultimately successful, RINO incumbents such as Assemblyman Pat “RINO” Hickey and Assemblyman Lynn “The Bug Man” Stewart drew serious conservative primary opponents who were unafraid of taking on the money and power of the GOP establishment.
And all of that was before 13 shameful Assembly Republicans flipped grassroots Republicans the bird and voted for the largest tax hike in history this session.
WELCOME TO CONSERVAGEDDON 2.0
Many of those tax-hiking Republican incumbents – maybe all – will be primaried next year. And some will surely be ousted, just as Kite was in 2012.
And this time, it’ll be with the full and official blessing of the GOP franchise, the Nevada Republican Party (NRP)!
No longer is the party “playing Swiss” and staying out of primaries. Indeed, last year the Nevada GOP officially endorsed some candidates over others in primaries, and not only intends to do so again next year, but intends to do so far more aggressively.
In fact, get this from a NRP press release sent out last week…
“The Nevada Republican Party (NRP), supported by many of Nevada’s county GOP parties, views the passage of SB483 as a breach of our legislator’s representation of the citizens of this state. Many of the legislators who supported the tax increases found it helpful to identify with the Republican platform of limited government and fiscal responsibility while campaigning, yet turned their back on that platform and the express will of the voters once elected.
“The NRP is tasked with increasing Republican voter registration and maximizing voter turnout in support of Republican candidates. When some legislators pretend to support the GOP platform to get elected, and then vote to support the Democrat agenda once in office, they deprive Nevada Republicans of their representation, and force the party to take action to protect Nevada voters.
“(T)he NRP will not support the re-election in 2016 of those legislators who failed to represent the voters. . . . (T)he NRP will support the Republican legislators who did support their constituents in the 2015 legislative session, and will recruit and support candidates to join them who will represent Nevadans honestly. By keeping the promises made in their campaigns once in office, these legislators will help restore voter’s faith in the Republican Party.”
Them’s what we used to call “fightin’ words.”
SOME PEOPLE CAN RATIONALIZE ANYTHING
What’s amazing to me is sellouts such as Assemblyman David Gardner – a lawyer – who is now trying to rationalize and excuse his sellout vote on the tax hikes by claiming that the “business community” – defined as the high-priced lobbyists for the likes of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the gaming industry and the mining industry – pressured him every day to vote for the tax hike while he only rarely heard from constituents and small businesses who wanted him to vote against it.
First, I know for a FACT that small business owners represented by the Retail Association of Nevada, the Nevada Trucking Association and the Nevada Federation of Independent Businesses lobbied HARD against the new gross receipts tax, even if lukewarm on extending the “sunsets.”
Secondly, it shouldn’t matter.
Gardner ran as a Republican on a conservative platform of small government and not raising taxes.
People voted for him because he said he would support smaller government and not raise taxes.
In a representative democracy, they shouldn’t have had to lord over him and make sure he honored his word. They shouldn’t have had to hire a babysitter to remind him of what he claimed he would do in office.
They sent him to Carson City to stand up to the special interests, not carry their water.
Former United States Congressman J.C. Watts once said, “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.”
By his betrayal of his campaign promises, Gardner has undeniably demonstrated a serious lack of character.
Now here’s the good news…
Gardner has already attracted a dead serious, credible, viable GOP primary opponent if he doesn’t do the honorable thing and not run for re-election.
And Assemblymen John Hambrick, Steven Silberkraus and Lynn Stewart also already have serious, viable, credible conservative challengers warming up in the bullpen.
With more to come.
Let the primaries begin!
GOOD RIDDANCE TO RINOS
Here’s the full rogue’s gallery list of the Dirty Baker’s Dozen of RINO legislators who voted for the largest tax hike in Nevada’s history, including creation of a new gross receipts tax…
- Assemblyman James “The Big Selloutski” Oscarson – Nye County
- Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill – Carson City
- Assemblyman Pat “RINO” Hickey – Washoe
- Assemblyman Randy “Kirner Tax” Kirner – Washoe
- Assemblyman David Gardner – Clark
- Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury – Clark
- Assemblyman Lynn “The Bug Man” Stewart – Clark
- Assemblyman Paul Anderson – Clark
- Assemblyman Derek Armstrong-Anderson – Clark
- Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus – Clark
- Assemblyman Erv Nelson – Clark
- Assemblyman Glenn Trowbridge – Clark
- Assembly Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick – Clark
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