(Chuck Muth) – Plenty of folks are scratching their heads wondering exactly why and how Republican Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea came up with the hare-brained notion to tax groceries in order to raise more dough for the government. And in reading RJ columnist John L. Smith’s column today, you can’t help but get the sense that it’s sort of a NIMBY Tax.
NIMBY stands for “not in my back yard.” And by proposing the taxation of milk and butter and eggs and cheese to raise money, perhaps Tax-My-Meat Pete hopes to dispel talk and head off efforts to increase taxes on the lifeblood of his rural back yard’s economy: mining.
“(I)n rural Nevada,” writes Smith, who refers to the proposed grocery tax as “onerous”, “Goicoechea’s political groceries are delivered with the approval of Nevada’s mining industry, which is riding record-high gold prices to unprecedented profits and pays a comparative pittance in taxes.”
“There’s no doubt” Goicoechea told Smith, “mining has definitely insulated northeastern Nevada, to a certain extent, from the economic impacts occurring in Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada.”
So it could well be that Goicoechea’s motivation here in proposing his “onerous” grocery tax isn’t so much to help close the state’s budget gap; and it surely wasn’t done because it was good for either the conservative movement or the Republican Party; but to save a local industry from paying its “fair share” by taxing the fruits and vegetables of the other guy behind the tree.
If a revenue neutral effort to shift some of the state’s tax burden from, say, the vehicle registration tax or sales tax by increasing taxes or eliminating deductions from the mining industry, don’t be surprised to see a number of fiscal conservatives go for it.
Mining has a lousy and well-deserved reputation for trying to screw every other entity in the state to avoid taking a new tax hit themselves. Rather than working with conservative leaders and organizations to pare down government so that higher taxes wouldn’t be needed from anyone, they readily use their big money and big lobbying clout to keep funding big government while making the tax burden everyone else pays bigger.
The growing sentiment out here, even among fiscal conservatives, is to do it to mining before mining does it to us. Again.
I wonder if Pete received any sizable donations from the mining industry – for himself or his caucus – between the time he became minority leader a couple months ago and the time last week that he floated this dumbass notion of taxing food? Ought to be an interesting campaign finance report, no?