(NN&V Staff) – Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, Amargosa Valley Republican and chairman of the Tax Pledge Caucus in the Nevada Legislature, send the following letter today to all of the GOP candidates running for legislative seats this November in both the Assembly and the Senate:
Back in the summer of 2008, Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, being challenged in a GOP primary by Sharron Angle, “guaranteed” that he would not support raising taxes in 2009. However, despite that verbal “guarantee,” Sen. Raggio then went on to provide the Democrats the votes they needed to raise taxes by over a billion dollars in the 2009 session!
As a way to mitigate this major reversal of his promise to voters, Sen. Raggio insisted that the billion dollars worth of tax hikes be “temporary.” They are scheduled to “sunset” next year. However, Sen. Raggio is now saying that – surprise! – those “temporary” tax hikes might have to be extended, if not made permanent.
And some people wonder why so many voters don’t take politicians at their word?
As you know, both Democrat Rory Reid and Republican Brian Sandoval have said they will not support tax increases if elected as Nevada’s next governor, but no one really, truly believes either will keep their word. I hope they do, but I can understand the skepticism in the minds of Nevada’s taxpayers.
Which is why I signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising the voters of my district and the people of Nevada that I will vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.
In fact, I feel so strongly that (a) the only way to force the government to make the necessary and long-overdue cuts and changes to government is to take tax hikes off the bargaining table, and (b) fiscally conservative candidates should be strong and principled enough to put their campaign rhetoric in writing with no loopholes, that I’ve agreed to be the Tax Pledge Caucus Chairman for the Nevada Legislature again this session.
As such, I’m writing you today….asking you to join me in signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
Although the Tax Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, has been around for almost 25 years now, there are always some questions and/or concerns from new candidates. So let me address the top three most-often expressed….and then feel free to contact me with any additional ones.
1.) Does the Pledge include “fees”?
Yes. Fees to fund government operations and regulation are nothing more than taxes by another name – with the exception of true user fees.
However to be considered a true user fee, the “charge must fund a specific service, with no excess going into the general fund; the charge must be paid only by those who use that specific government service; and individuals must have the choice whether to purchase the service – and thus pay the fee – or to purchase the service from a private business.”
For example, the cost to rent a picnic area for a wedding in a state park is an example of a true user fee not subject to the Tax Pledge. A fee on businesses to pay for inspections is not.
2.) What about tolls?
As long as the toll is created for a new road project and not one that has already been paid for by the taxpayers, it would not be a violation of the Tax Pledge.
Voting to approve a toll on a bypass around Boulder City and connecting to the new bridge over Hoover Dam would not be a violation of the Tax Pledge since that would be a new project and motorists would still have the option of taking the current “free” route through the city.
3.) Does the Pledge stand in the way of tax reform?
No, the Tax Pledge does not require opposition to revenue neutral tax reform.
The operative words here are “revenue neutral.” Time and again we hear the Left use tax “reform” as a secret code word for tax “hike.” In order for tax reform to be revenue neutral, “a tax increase must be tied to an offsetting tax cut of at least equal size” and generally “be specified in the same piece of legislation.”
So, for example, simply expanding the current sales tax to include services would not be revenue neutral, since it would result in more revenue going into the general fund. However, if you expand the sales tax to services, while simultaneously reducing the sales tax on products so that there’s no net increase in revenue going to the general fund, that’s allowable without being a violation of the Tax Pledge.
Of course, there could/would still be other legitimate reasons to oppose such tax reform; however, it would not be a violation of your signed Pledge.
Again, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact me. But before closing, let me address one specific concern I’ve been hearing with greater frequency this election cycle. . .
“Ed, I’d love to sign the Tax Pledge, but the lobbyists are telling me that if I sign it they won’t give me any money for my campaign.”
This has got to be the most disturbing excuse I’ve heard for not signing the Tax Pledge. And I want you to think long and hard about this. . .
If you’re willing to compromise your principles now, before you’re even elected, in return for the promise of campaign contributions, what’s that say about the ability of lobbyists to control your vote after you get elected?
Once you start down the road of trading your votes and compromising your principles in return for campaign cash, it’s a very slippery slope that few recover from. And these lobbyists know it. You better stand up to these threats and bribes NOW. . . .or forever hold your peace.
Let me conclude with this. At former Gov. Kenny Guinn’s funeral service, Sen. Raggio stated that “compromise” isn’t a four-letter word. I’ll only point out that neither is the word “no.”
In fact, there isn’t a thing wrong with saying no when no is the right thing to say. And in this economy, with so many Nevadans out of work; with so many small businesses filing for bankruptcy; with so many families losing their homes to foreclosure; if EVER there was a time to say “no new taxes,” this is it.
So please, join me in the Tax Pledge Caucus by signing the enclosed Taxpayer Protection Pledge and faxing it back to me at (702) 664-0900 or emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter and you willingness to serve in Carson City next year. I’m looking forward to having a few more principled “boat rockers” with me in the Assembly.
Assembly District 36
P.S. As you know, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford recently proposed raising taxes next year by $1.5 billion. And we know that Sen. Raggio has already conceded the “necessity” of once again raising taxes. So the only way to protect Nevada’s taxpayers is to elect at least 15 Republicans to the Assembly who will Pledge to block any such effort in the Senate.
Will you join me as one of those 15 by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge?
Some of the candidates and a few of the incumbents have already signed the Pledge. We’ll give the others a couple weeks to get and respond to Assemblyman Goedhart’s letter and then start naming names of those who want to keep open the option of raising our taxes so they have a “seat at the table.”