(Jim Clark) – Folks who support the reelection of Sen. Harry Reid (D- NV) tell us that the overwhelming reason Nevada voters should ignore his public gaffes, back room Washington deals, arm twisting, threats, cozy relations with lobbyists, questionable land deals and out-of-state financial support is that he is the most powerful Nevadan to ever walk the surface of the earth and is able to do so much for the Silver State.
Earlier this week the Reno Gazette Journal’s “Fact Checker” dismissed charges that Reid is responsible for Nevada’s highest-in-the-nation 15% unemployment rate. How? By calling Reid’s office and getting inundated with examples of the senator’s largesse with taxpayer dollars in the form of stimulus money, Washoe County wildfire restoration money, geothermal development money, Reno-Tahoe Airport control tower money and money for a redundant Meadowood offramp on US 395.
See? Everyone just knows that Reid delivers and Nevada benefits.
Too bad the “Fact Checker” didn’t check with an independent source for reliable data over a protracted period of time. The non-profit Tax Foundation, a 501-c-3 Washington DC think tank founded in 1937, keeps detailed state-by-state summaries on federal revenues and spending.
The foundation reports that Nevadans’ per capita federal tax bill in 1983, the year Reid went to Washington, was $2,982, fourth highest in the US. Federal funds per capita received by Nevada that year amounted to $2,908, sixteenth highest in the nation.
By 2005, the latest year for which figures were shown in the foundation’s report, Nevadans’ per capita tax bill was $8,417, sixth highest in the nation. But per capita federal revenues received by Nevada amounted to only $5,889, lowest of all 50 states.
In another measure, in 1983 Nevadans received $0.85 for every federal tax dollar we paid; by 2005 that figure had dropped to $0.65, forty ninth in the nation. Would the number one state be California or New York with their huge congressional delegations? Nope. The winner was New Mexico garnering a whopping $2.03 in federal revenues for every tax dollar New Mexico taxpayers sent to Washington.
Moreover, as pointed out by Nevada Policy Research Institute, the now infamous Obamacare law for which Reid was primarily responsible will “impose a proportionately larger unfunded mandate on the Silver State than it will on any other state. Reid’s unfunded mandate will almost certainly mean future spending reductions for education, public safety and infrastructure as more state funds must go into Medicaid spending.”
Therefore it should come as no surprise that Friends for Harry Reid, the senator’s political action committee (“PAC”), receives the overwhelming majority of its donations from sources that have little interest in Nevada.
In a report over 500 pages long the PAC disclosed donations received during the first 3 months of 2009. Out of total of $2,234,309 in receipts for this period nearly half came from donors in Texas, Florida, Washington DC and Maryland. Only 7% of donations to Reid’s campaign came from sources in Nevada.
See how all this ties together? Reid is really the senator from the rival no-income-tax states of Texas and Florida as well as Washington DC area lobbying interests. So the question really isn’t: “how can Nevada survive without Harry Reid?” it is “how quickly can we get rid of him?”
I think I have an Angle on that.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates, a vice chair of the Washoe County GOP and a member of the Nevada GOP Central Committee)