(Chuck Muth) – It’s now been two full days since the Democrat Nevada state Senate Majority Leader proposed a $1.5 billion tax hike….and still not so much as an official statement of opposition by Nevada GOP chief Mark Amodei, Clark County GOP chief SpongeBob Ruckman, any other GOP county chairman, Gov. Jim Gibbons, Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, or Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea (more on him later).
It’s as if Harry Potter put a “Silencing Charm” on the whole lot of ‘em.
In any event, details of the Horsford tax hike plan are starting to leak out from the halls of the Legislature in Carson City – and Nevada’s business community better get used to grabbing its ankles and start stocking up on Vaseline….if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
After reading two days ago that Sen. Horsford had finally seen the light and came to the conclusion that a corporate income tax was a really bad idea, many a business owner could be excused for jumping for joy. But don’t jump too soon. The other shoe is about to drop.
According to the grapevine – which, as you know, is never wrong – Horsford is secretly scheming a new tax on services, but it’s not like revenue neutral the tax-base-broadening proposal put forward recently by the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI). Instead, Horsford’s service tax would only apply to business-to-business transactions, with the rate starting at around 9 percent.
Bear in mind, the NPRI proposal would expand the existing sales tax to services, such as haircuts and dry cleaning, HOWEVER, the overall tax RATE would drop from the current rate of around 8 percent to something in the neighborhood of 3.5 percent. So the net tax revenue would be neutral. The government would be getting the same amount of money, but from a broader spectrum.
Horsford’s plan, however, would not only expand the sales tax to some services, but keep the sales tax on goods at the high rate of 8 percent while slapping our already hard-hit businesses with a new 9 percent service tax.
Of course, some will say that the businesses won’t actually be hit because they’ll just pass the new service tax hike onto consumers in the way of higher prices. But the Horsford squashes that option. Again, rumor has it that part of the Horsford business-to-business service tax hike will include a prohibition on businesses passing the new tax hike onto consumers.
But how in the world can he enforce something like that?
Well, by creating a brand new IRS-like police division within the state Department of Taxation that would do nothing but monitor and spy on businesses to make SURE they don’t pass the tax hike on to consumers, subject to fines and/or imprisonment.
Lovely. Just lovely.
The worst part?
I’m hearing that Republican Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea and Assistant Minority Leader Lynn Stewart have already signed off on the tax hike.
Maybe not this exact plan and maybe not this exact $1.5 billion figure – but they’ve reportedly bought the snake oil sales pitch that a humongous tax hike is both required and inevitable.
So much for the loyal opposition. Nevada Republicans can be proud of the fact that they now have their own Vichy France regime running the lower legislative house. Let’s avoid the Christmas rush and just award Goicoechea the Neville Chamberlain Award now, shall we?
So what can Republican grassroots activists do stop this crap?
Not much. But here are two things to consider.
1.) If there’s going to be a ginormous tax hike, better it be done with Democrat votes than Republican votes. In Lynn Stewart’s district there is a very credible libertarian candidate running in the general election, Nathan Santucci.
Santucci works special effects for magicians-extraordinaire “Penn & Teller” and was actually endorsed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the general election race against Stewart two years when there was no Democrat running. And there’s no way on God’s green earth that Santucci would collaborate with the Democrats to pass any tax hike of any amount for any reason on anybody.
If enough taxpayers and tea partiers get behind Santucci, he could potentially pull a MAJOR upset in November in a three-way race. But even if he loses and costs Stewart the race, what’s the difference. Stewart will vote for the $1.5 billion (or more) tax hike…and so will the Democrat. Better it be a Democrat so that we have an issue to run on in 2012 in that district.
2.) Elect enough conservative Republican to the Assembly who will commit to voting for someone other than Pete Goicoechea as Minority Leader after the November elections.
At best, Republicans might end up with 15 seats. Which means conservative Assemblyman John Hambrick, who is mulling a challenge to Goicoechea, needs five new conservatives to back him in the leadership vote – provided conservative incumbents Ed Goedhart and Richard McArthur side with him.
It may be an “inside baseball” question for y’all to ask when you run across these GOP Assembly candidates on the campaign trail, but it’s THE pivotal question for those of us who are sick and tired of Republican leaders acting like the French and waving the white flag before the first shot is even fired.
Put ‘em on the spot and ask them BEFORE the election who they’re going to support for Minority Leader: Pete Goicoechea or John Hambrick?
If they’re supporting Pete – and I hate to say this – you just might want to consider voting for the Democrat. Strategically speaking, it’s better for tax hikes to be passed with Democrat votes than giving them the cover of a “bi-partisan” vote and forfeiting the tax issue in the 2012 elections.
Sorry, GOP partisans, but your “my party, right or wrong” and “the lesser of two evils” crud is killing us. Vive le resistance!