(Chuck Muth) – Nevada gubernatorial candidates Rory Reid (D) and Brian Sandoval (R) debated for the second time last night. And both of sounded like, well, hard-core fiscal conservatives. The kind who have been excoriated and lambasted for many, many years when we say don’t raise taxes. Only when we do it, we’re called “far right” or “extreme” or “Birchers” or worse.
When asked by moderator Mitch Fox if, over the next four years of their administration, either candidate would raise any of a series of potential taxes (services, mining, etc.), both said no, no, no, no, no, no, NO! – like that refrain in Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
And yet, suspiciously neither has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge (Rory, you got nuthin’ to lose here, bud – don’t hedge, sign the pledge!) and both continue to give themselves wriggle room.
Rory is hopping on the deck and flopping like a fish over the question of whether or not he’d veto a budget if the Legislature takes what he submits and adds taxes to it in the same manner as they took Gov. Gibbons’ 2009 budget and added higher taxes to it. Rory’s lame response is pretty much, “They wouldn’t do that to me. I’m too much of a leader.”
For Sandoval’s part, yes, he said categorically no to the taxes specified in the debate last night. But he, too, hasn’t signed the Tax Pledge and has equivocated on the issue by saying, “I don’t believe tax increases are the right thing to do when we’re in the middle of the most severe economic crisis in the history of our state.”
Which certainly can be interpreted as meaning he’d be open to raising taxes once the “crisis” – a rather subjective term – is over.
It reminds me of the GOP primary just two years ago when Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio said “right now” wasn’t the time to raise taxes and “guaranteed” he wouldn’t support any tax hikes – just months before negotiating over a billion dollars worth of higher taxes in the ’09 session.
So the choice for tax hawks in this election seems to come down to this: Voting for the guy who you know will break his word, or the one who probably won’t as long as the economy stays in the crapper.