(Michael Chamberlain/Nevada Business Coalition) – During committee testimony yesterday in support of her own tax bill (AB428) Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce (D-Las Vegas) declared, “I have never presented myself as an expert on taxes.” Asm. Pierce hasn’t let that self-professed lack of expertise stop her from offering a slew of proposals that would raise taxes on virtually everything imaginable, from diaper services to liquor and tobacco to mining to a host of others.
The admission occurred after Pierce was forced on numerous occasions to defer to the committee’s analyst in response to questions about the bill, which would have reduced many of the deductions mining companies are allowed to take in calculating their net proceeds tax.
During her testimony, she expressed her belief that government does all kinds of wonderful things (apparently only the government is capable of doing such wonderful things), and that in order for it to continue all those wonderful things it must further squeeze and crush the state’s taxpayers.
Okay, that’s not exactly how she put it. But she did state she believed the governor’s budget would “do damage to the state for a minimum of ten years.” Pierce also criticized what she characterized as Nevada’s 30-year “very radical experiment in small government.”
If only that were true. Nevada may have had a small government at one time, but those days are long gone. During the boom years, inflation-adjusted, per-person state spending grew by more than 30% in about a half-decade.
Other states’ governments may be bigger but that doesn’t mean that Nevada’s is small. And big government states have not exactly been rousing successes themselves.
As objectionable as her tax proposals are, we must give Asm. Pierce credit for having the courage to put her money where her mouth is (or, rather, put the taxpayers’ money where her mouth is). Contrary to other opponents of the governor’s budget who have complained and sniped but offered no plans of their own, she has presented actual proposals to take more money away from the state’s private sector to feed the government.
If only she and her colleagues had an equal concern for the taxpayers of Nevada and the burdens that taxes and regulations impose upon them as they do for tax consumers. Maybe if they were to become experts in those areas, they wouldn’t be so eager to increase those burdens at every turn.
(Michael Chamberlain is Executive Director of Nevada Business Coalition.)