The Assembly Judiciary Committee has voted to send to the floor Senate Bill 243, the Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent bill.
What this bill allows the government to do is take a sample of your DNA upon any arrest for an alleged felony offense. That’s ARREST, not conviction. In other words, a gross infringement upon your Fourth Amendment rights.
Disappointingly not one Republican had the cojones to vote against this feel-good/slippery-slope bill in committee. On the other hand, kudos to the max to two Democrats who had the stones to defend your Fourth Amendment rights: Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (my Assemblyman!) and Assemblyman Richard Carrillo.
In explaining his vote to apply a little white-out (ask your mom) to the U.S. Constitution, columnist Steve Sebelius writes that Republican Assemblyman Wes Duncan (R-Las Vegas) “said the federal government and other states take DNA from people arrested prior to conviction,” so why shouldn’t we?
Ah, the ol’ “everybody else is doing it” defense…which worked so well for us as children, didn’t it?
Indeed, if the federal government and other states decided to make it illegal to gamble, then Nevada should make it illegal to gamble, too?
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Duncan also “said the proposal would help capture criminals.”
Then again, so would warrantless searches. For that matter, how about embedded tracking chips on anyone who’s ever had a criminal THOUGHT? I mean, if that wouldn’t help capture criminals, I don’t know what would!
For his part, Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) said, “I think the felony [arrest] standard is reasonable.”
Really? First question: For how long?
In other words, how long will it be before these people come back and demand a DNA sample from anyone arrested on a misdemeanor? And then for traffic tickets? And if you don’t think that’s where we’re heading here, you’re nuts.
But consider this, as well. What constitutes a felony these days?
The feel-gooders would have you believe that the only people who will have their rights violated in this manner are rapists and murderers and drug dealers. But the sad truth is that legislators for years have been turning more and more misdemeanor infractions into felonies in our slow-but-sure transition to a true police state. An example…
Two years ago, former Democrat Assemblyman “Moose” Arberry was charged with six felony counts relating to…not murder…not rape…not drug dealing…but failing to properly report campaign donations.
“Swab, please, Mr. Moose!”
And for the record, all six of the felony accusations against Mr. Arberry were ultimately reduced to a misdemeanor; however, had this DNA law been on the books back then…too bad. Arberry’s Fourth Amendment rights would have already vanished.
But what the heck? Everybody else is doing, right? And surely no one can argue against the reasonableness of forcing a DNA sample from someone who cooked his campaign books, right?
The only thing missing from these arguments are the ol’ “if one life can be saved” and the “if you have nothing to hide” arguments. Then again, the session isn’t over yet and the full Assembly still has to vote on the bill.
Here’s one last tidbit to consider…
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted with Committee Chairman Jason Frierson, the man who lied through his teeth and single-handedly killed the campus carry bill a couple weeks ago despite the fact that the votes were there on the committee to move the bill forward.
Why is this relevant? Here’s why…
The #1 reason given for forcing people who have been arrested to cough up a DNA sample is the family members of Brianna Dennison. In fact, the bill is being called Brianna’s law.
Dennison was raped and murdered in 2008 by a scumbag piece of human garbage named James Biella (who should die a very painful and public death), and Biella had a previous felony arrest. So, as the argument goes, the rape and murder could have possibly been prevented if the DNA law had been in effect back then.
But wait. There’s more to the story…
Before raping and murdering Dennison, Biella attacked and raped another young woman, Amanda Collins, in the parking garage at the University of Nevada Reno. Collins, you may recall, was licensed to carry a concealed weapon but was disarmed by state legislators who prohibited her from carrying it on the college campus.
So to follow the logic of the DNA law’s proponents, had the campus carry law been on the books at the time, perhaps Collins would have shot Biella’s testicles clean off with her .44 Magnum (or whatever heat she would have been packing) and Brianna would be alive today.
Yet Frierson deep-sixed the potentially life-saving campus carry bill which was supported by the four Republican co-sponsors on his committee…only to find himself rewarded by chalking up their bi-partisan support for a bill to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment.
And the beat goes on…
Folks, I know this is a feel-good bill that the public generally supports from a purely emotional point of view. However, legislators take an oath to defend the Constitution, not vote whatever way the winds of popular sentiment are blowing.
Again, bravo to Assemblymen Ohrenschall and Carrillo for have the strength of their conviction on this one despite the political risk.
I will remind you that only ONE Nevada legislator, Assemblyman Wes Duncan, voted “No” on the Internet tax resolution. I’ll also note that U.S. Sen. Dean Heller opposes this so-called/misnamed “Marketplace Fairness Act.”
But Duncan and Heller are far from alone when it comes to national CONSERVATIVE opposition to this scheme to suck more money out of YOUR wallet. Here’s a partial list of conservative opponents, in addition to, of course, our own opposition here at Citizen Outreach…
- Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
- Jenny Beth Martin, Co-Founder, Tea Party Patriots
- Matt Kibbe, President, FreedomWorks
- Tim Phillips, President, Americans for Prosperity
- Brent Bozell, Chairman, For America
- Mike Needham, CEO, Heritage Action for America
- The Hon. George Allen, Former Governor and US Senator
- Tom Schatz, President, Citizens Against Government Waste
- Duane Parde, President, National Taxpayers Union
- David Bossie, President, Citizens United
- Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
- The Hon. Jim Ryun, Chairman, The Madison Project
- The Hon. Ken Blackwell, President, Constitutional Congress, Inc.
- Al Regnery, Former Publisher, American Spectator
- Wayne Crews, Vice President, Competitive Enterprise Institute
- J. Michael Smith, Esq., President, HSLDA
- John Dodd, President, Jesse Helms Center Foundation
- Craig Shirley, Chairman, Citizens for the Republic
- Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
- Lew Uhler, President, National Tax Limitation Committee
- Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom
- Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
So what, exactly, are some the conservative arguments against this Internet tax grab? A sampling (h/t Heartland Institute)…
“The Republican Party is supposed to oppose tax increases and burdensome, unnecessary government regulations. But sometimes, they lose their way. The most recent example is support by some Republicans for the misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act, which should really be called the Internet Tax Mandate. This mandate is nothing more than a huge tax increase on the American people backed by lobbyists and some state governments. I must admit, I am disappointed that some in my party are backing this ill-advised bill.” – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)
“This is nothing but a money grab. This is nothing but State’s wanting billion dollars in new revenue because they don’t want to cut spending and they don’t have the political courage to raise taxes which in my opinion is a bad idea…It is a disaster. If this passes the people who vote for it will regret the day they do.” – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
“The Internet is a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurial freedom that should be protected and nourished. … But tax-hungry politicians view the Internet as yet another source of revenue to bail out their big-spending governments. The misleadingly titled Marketplace Fairness Act is a job-killing tax hike, plain and simple. It is, in effect, a national Internet sales tax, which would hammer the little guy and benefit giant corporations.” – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
“At its core, this is a nationally mandated Internet sales tax on businesses. Once a single state demands these sales tax collections under the new law, businesses in every other state would be forced to comply with that state’s tax laws. Dozens of states are eagerly waiting to raise those taxes, as soon as Washington opens the floodgates.” – Former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint
“I’m opposed to the internet sales tax. Call me a conservative, but I believe the right approach to tax fairness is to reduce rates—not force higher rates onto others. States that want their businesses to be more competitive in the marketplace should engage in a race to the lowest tax rate rather than seek to level the playing field by imposing higher taxes and new burdens on competitors and consumers.” – Rep. Tom Grave (R-Georgia)
“By imposing this new Internet Tax, states would suddenly be empowered to force online retailers to simultaneously comply with all the different tax codes of all the states in which their customers reside. That’s no small feat. From what I’m told, there are nearly 10,000 state, local, and municipal tax codes nationwide. And while complying with so many codes might not be a big deal for large online retailers, it’s a huge burden on the little guys.” – Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
“Raising prices on goods purchased over the Internet will also impose an additional hardship on American consumers, many of whom are already struggling because of the troubled economy. And giving ravenous state governments new authority to tax sales made by out-of-state businesses practically guarantees future sales tax hikes, as the arguments will be made that most of the increases will fall on out-of-state businesses. These businesses will lack effective ability to oppose the tax increases — a form of taxation without representation.” – Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)
“This is taxation without representation on stilts. The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow nearly 10,000 governments to abuse businesses – with no recourse for businesses. Because they don’t live in the relevant jurisdictions and can’t vote to oust the abusers. Governments need to stop looking for ever more revenue streams – and instead just stop spending.” – Seton Motley, President, Less Government
“The proposed bill is anything but ‘fair,’ and it is both economically destructive and contrary to the logic of federalism.” – Timothy H. Lee, Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, Center for Individual Freedom
“One day I will have a scorecard for conservatives. And those Republicans who vote for the Marketplace Fairness Act in any form will be blackballed from that scorecard.” – Erick Erickson, Founder of RedState.com and FoxNews contributor
“If truth-in-labeling rules applied to Congress, the proposed law giving states the power to collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers would be named the Marketplace Unfairness Act. … (T)he legislation would strip away protections that have been in place for decades, unleashing tax-hungry states on merchants to whom they aren’t answerable and tilting the playing field against small Internet retailers.” – Jeff Jacoby, columnist, Boston Globe
“In a burst of the bipartisanship we are told to revere, a coalition of Republican and Democratic senators rose above party differences last week to affirm class solidarity. They moved toward a tax increase of at least $22 billion to benefit the political class at the state and local levels. … One reason the Republican-controlled House should reject this tax increase is that much of the revenue will be passed on to public employees and, through their unions, to Democrats’ campaigns.” – George Will, columnist, Washington Post
Now…please explain to me again why only ONE Republican in the entire state Legislature was a “No” vote on this bill?
Turns out there’s only ONE Republican in the entire Nevada Legislature who got the Internet tax issue (SJR5) correct. Every other Republican (along with every Democrat, but that was a given) voted to empower and force out-of-state companies to suck “use” taxes out of your pocket for out-of-state online purchases despite myriad conservative reasons not to do so.
“I see a few problems with the Marketplace Fairness Act,” writes Assemblyman Wes Duncan (R-Las Vegas), who was excused from the final vote but confirmed to me he would have been a “No” on the floor, just as he was in committee.
“First, it empowers states and localities to impose sales taxes on entities they arguably have no jurisdiction over which goes directly against the holding in Quill which requires retailers to have a physical presence in the taxing state. Second, this would be highly burdensome on smaller retailers who have to comply with thousands of taxing jurisdictions. Third, it discourages tax competition between states and allows them to reach across state lines.”
And Assemblyman Duncan only scratched the surface on why this is such a VERY BAD idea.
The Retail Association of Nevada (RAN), which represents big-box retailers such as WalMart and Best Buy, claim this Internet tax bill will “level the playing field.” Hogwash. Unless brick-and-mortar stores are going to be required to start charging customers a “shipping charge” to carry their purchases out of the stores!
In a press release this week, RAN noted that “Retailers who have a physical location in Nevada are required to collect (sales) taxes and send them to the state.” Which is true.
But RAN went on to claim that by making online retailers that do NOT have a physical presence in our state “operate under the same rules, Nevada will become a more equitable place to do business.” Which is NOT true.
It simply is not more equitable for Nevada to be able to pass tax-collecting rules that apply to non-Nevada entities – which do not use our schools, libraries, police, firefighters and other government services – that have no vote. That’s the very essence of taxation without representation!
Supporters of this Internet tax collection scheme – and let’s be perfectly clear here; YOU will be paying this tax, not the online retailer – maintain that YOU are already required to pay this tax by law. YOU just don’t.
As RAN puts it, “this tax is not new, but rather already due.”
So what RAN is really trying to do here is FORCE you to pay a tax you object to (and let’s face it, if you don’t even know about it, you sure as hell didn’t agree to it!) by making out-of-state companies the mandatory tax collector for the government – much like how your employer, through withholding, is forced to collect and remit your federal income tax payments every paycheck.
Instead of making it easier for the government to collect a tax the citizens of Nevada never agreed to, what Republicans in the Legislature SHOULD be fighting for is repeal of the ridiculous “use” tax on out-of-state purchases outright.
By the way, do you know why they call it a “use” tax and not a “sales” tax? Because one state is precluded by the Constitution from taxing goods purchased in another state and the courts have affirmed this. So sneaky state legislators invented a new tax called the “use” tax and apply it to anything you purchase out-of-state which is intended to by “used” where you live.
So if you buy a t-shirt in Utah to be worn at home in Nevada…you owe this stupid “use” tax even if you buy it in person at the WalMart in Provo and not online!
You see, if you travel to a state with a lower sales tax rate than Nevada’s “use” tax rate, you are legally required to pay Nevada the difference. For example, if Nevada’s “use” tax rate where you live is 8 percent and another state’s sales tax if 5 percent, you have to pay the 5 percent to the state where the sale was made AND remit the difference of 3 percent to Nevada.
But if this Internet tax bill is approved, it’s inevitable and only a matter of time before that brick-and-mortar retailers around the country are going to have to start checking ID’s and charging the highest tax rate on the books and remitting the differences to the state of origin of out-of-state visitors.
For the record, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of this Internet tax on Monday. Sen. Harry Reid voted for it (naturally). Sen. Dean Heller voted against it (thank you!).
Now the bill moves to the House. Democrat Reps. Steven Horsford and Dina Titus will vote for it (naturally). I’m waiting to hear how Republican Reps. Joe Heck and Mark Amodei intend to vote. Let’s hope they follow Heller and Duncan’s lead.
Don’t look now, but Assembly Republicans appear to have a leader who actually understands…get this…POLITICS!
No, no…it’s true.
Sure Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey might not be the kind of fire-breathing, scorched-earth, tea party conservative that many of us are. Then again, unlike other Republican leaders he’s never pretended to be.
Nevertheless, give Hickey credit. He’s actively working and communicating with outside third-party conservative organizations (unlike his Senate counterpart, Sen. Roberson, who only likes to play with himself) and has embraced a tactic I’ve long espoused…
If Democrats won’t hear our bills, hold our own hearings!
Indeed, tomorrow Hickey will moderate a town hall-style “hearing” from 4:00-6:00 pm in Room #1214 in the Legislature to discuss three conservative issues that haven’t received a proper hearing by the Democrat-controlled Assembly this session: PERS reform, prevailing wage reform and tax credits for private school vouchers.
This is the difference between having a “minority” party mentality and an “opposition” party mentality.
Which is not to say Assemblyman Hickey isn’t working cooperatively with Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. He is. But working cooperatively when possible, and in your own party’s interest when necessary, aren’t mutually exclusive.
‘Tis a tightrope act, to be sure, but Hickey’s walking it FAR better than the totally ineffective Minority Leaders who came before him: Pete “Tax My Meat” Goicoechea, Heidi “I Wanna Be Lieutenant Governor” Gansert and Garn “Maybe” Mabey.
Of course, the session’s not over…and it’s likely the moderate Republicans in his caucus will wimp out again when the heat gets turned up. But Hickey thus far has proven himself an able leader who has shown conservatives a level of respect and inclusion we haven’t seen in years past.
What we need next year are more conservatives in the Assembly GOP caucus to replace Gumbies like Lynn Stewart and Tom Grady…and to actually pick up two or three additional seats from the D’s. Then we’ll start to see some real change!
Over 200 Nevada conservatives signed our letter encouraging Nevada State Sen. “Moderate Mike” Roberson (RINO-Henderson) to come clean and make an honest man of himself by leaving the GOP and re-registering as the Democrat he’s shown himself to be this legislative session.
In Congress, the general rule of thumb is that one signature on a letter or petition such as this represents the opinion of about 100 others who didn’t take the time to sign.
If you do the math, you’ll see that Moderate Mike has a real problem on his hands should he remain in the Republican Party and draws a credible primary opponent next year if he seeks re-election or seeks higher office (he’s said to being eying a run for lieutenant governor so he can slide into the governor’s office should Sandoval leave mid-term to run for Harry Reid’s U.S. Senate seat in 2016).
You can see the letter and signers (including one very high-ranking Nevada Republican Party official!) by clicking here
P.S. In case some of you are still unsure if Roberson has truly gone over to the Dark Side and cannot be salvaged, note that not only is he supporting extending the $620 million worth of “temporary” tax hikes from 2009 and proposing a new $600 million tax hike on our mining industry, but he (with support of the other members of the Dirty Half-Dozen Gang) also proposed yesterday yet another new tax hike, this one on the payroll tax on the banking industry!
As I told someone at the Republican Men’s Club luncheon yesterday, Sen. Roberson isn’t a disappointment; he’s a disgrace.
Dave McKeon – a.k.a., “Dave for Nevada” – decided to bring me into his challenge to Clark County GOP Chairman Cindy Lake on Friday, and thus invited this response…
In an email titled “Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” “Dave for Nevada” wrote in the third person about himself: “Dave Leads, Cindy Follows.”
“Dave for Nevada” then went on to brag about registering 100 Republicans in 27 days which, if my math is correct, now puts Republicans 151,688 behind the Democrats in Clark County instead of 151,788.
At that rate, “Dave for Nevada” should be able to single-handedly wipe out the Democrats’ advantage – providing they completely stop voter registration themselves – in just over 1,516 months!
But, look…I’m happy “Dave for Nevada” is out there registering Republicans. However, that’s one of the things a good GOP activist is supposed to do. So this is kinda like a dentist patting himself on the back for brushing his teeth twice a day!
“Dave for Nevada” then went on to criticize Chairman Lake for not personally registering as many Republicans as he did over the last 27 days (which, by the way, I suspect was a funded project, not strictly volunteer).
“Chairwoman Cindy Lake appears to have only registered 1 Republican, Chuck Muth, and that was during the Lincoln/Reagan Dinner in February. Dave is happy to see her follow his example.”
What a load of sheep dip.
First, technically speaking Chairman Lake didn’t actually re-register me; it was Jeri Taylor-Swade. But Lake’s chairmanship was a big reason for my returning to the fold, so for argument’s sake, let’s give her credit.
As such, my re-registration occurred well BEFORE “Dave for Nevada” went on his wild, 27-day GOP registration spree. So in reality, it’s “Dave for Nevada” who is following Chairman Lake’s example, not the other way around!
But more importantly, anyone running for chairman who thinks “voter registration” is the most important thing a chairman should do these days is woefully misguided – and that should cause any GOP Central Committee member to seriously question if “Dave for Nevada” is really ready for prime time as the Big Kahuna.
Frankly, voter registration should be WAY DOWN on the list of priorities…and I’ll prove it.
There was an election just last month for a Las Vegas city council seat. The three-way race pitted an incumbent Democrat union boss vs. an extremely credible and viable Republican businesswoman (vs. some yahoo).
The Republican businesswoman only need about 3,000 votes to win.
There were over 18,000 registered Republicans in the district.
The Republican businesswoman lost!
Because there weren’t enough Republicans registered to vote?
Because her campaign manager didn’t get the Republicans who were already registered to the polls!
In addition, Harry Reid didn’t “steal” his election against Sharron Angle two years ago. He beat her by doing the hard, grassroots work to get-out-the-vote on Election Day. They went to people’s homes and workplaces and dragged them to the polls.
Our folks did some robo-calls and “Liked” each other on Facebook.
Like I said, the GOP’s problem isn’t voter registration as much as voter turnout. Voter registration is just a simplistic, standard throw-away line used by Republicans who have no idea or no plan to do what really needs to be done to win elections.
If “Dave for Nevada” has a case to be made that Chairman Lake should be ousted and replaced in July with “Dave for Nevada,” “Dave for Nevada” is going to have to do better than boast of doing what he’s already supposed to be doing and complaining that Lake succeeded in getting me to rejoin the GOP.
I was on the board for the Children’s Museum in Carson City when we lived up there and have been to about a dozen similar museums all over the country over the years. So I’m a big fan overall. And I’ve heard nothing but great things about the new Las Vegas Children’s Museum that re-opened a month ago, so we decided to check it out yesterday.
As if I was going to park on the third floor just so some sanctimonious Prius owner could park right next to the entrance.
The new museum is, indeed, a beautiful facility and I signed us up for an annual family membership. It’s laid out on three separate floors and the kids took off up the steps and in every which direction to explore while I wandered up to the second floor to go through what was really a thoroughly interesting temporary historical exhibit honoring George Washington.
Next thing I know, I’m being paged to come to the front desk. We hadn’t even been there for much more than an hour.
Long story short, various staff proceeded to scold me for my three kids being in the museum unaccompanied. I felt compelled to point out the obvious; that they weren’t unaccompanied, that I was standing right there in front of them.
At which point I was informed that their definition of “accompanied” means I have to be hovering over them the entire time…which also means all three kids have to do the exact same thing on the exact same floor at the exact same time. Yeah, right. Like that was gonna happen.
So my next question: Were my kids misbehaving? ‘Cause if they were, I assured the staffers I would give them a good beating when we got home, send them to bed without dinner and ground them for life!
No, the kids weren’t misbehaving, I was informed. They were simply having fun without being tethered directly to their father.
I was then further informed that if we wanted to stay, I was going to have to chase them up and down three separate floors and make sure I kept them herded like some kind of parental sheep dog.
Now, if my kids were toddlers…that’d be one thing. But 6, 11 and 13?
This policy is just stupid…and my tolerance for stupidity has greatly diminished with my advancing age.
And if this stupid policy was ever in place at the old location it sure as heck was never enforced. The kids and I have ALWAYS split up once we got inside. CJ would head right to the water exhibit on the first floor (go figure!). Kristen would head for the science exhibit on the second floor. And Jenna would head to the hurricane machine.
Me? I usually looked for and found the most comfortable chair available, sat down and read a book unless the kids came and asked me to come see something or do something with them.
But back to the story.
This is their operation and they get to set the rules. I accept that. On the other hand, I have the option of saying I think the rules are stupid and choose not to patronize the place. So I simply asked for a refund of the annual membership I had just paid for an hour earlier and we’d be on our way.
Sorry, Charlie. Memberships are non-refundable, I was informed.
At which point my blood began to really start to boil…but I calmly suggested to the staffer that maybe now might be a good idea for her to double-check with a supervisor.
In the end, they charged me a full day’s visit for just over an hour of “fun” and refunded the difference of my membership.
The only thing stupider than the stupid policy itself was how stupidly they handled the situation. It all could have easily been handled so much better and more professionally and to the point that I would have remained a satisfied customer.
Instead, they succeeded in turning a big fan of the Children’s Museum into someone who will now take every opportunity to tell everyone I come in contact with just how stupid their stupid policies are.
You know, like I’m doing right now…
Ending note: Upon reaching our carbon-fueled vehicle in “Low Emitting Vehicle” spot in the parking garage, we couldn’t help but notice the Prius that had parked next to us with its back bumper covered in Barack Obama and Dina Titus stickers!
(From yesterday’s Silver State Confidential
In the meantime, this really isn’t a tough issue for conservatives…
The bottom line is that there’s some provision in the constitution which protects the mining industry from certain forms of taxation. Liberals (and some misguided Republicans) want to remove that protection from the industry.
Why? So they can tax the tar out of them, that’s why!
This issue has absolutely, positively NOTHING to do with fairness and everything to do with finding yet another way to suck money out of the private sector and spend it on more government. Period.
In fact, that’s EXACTLY what Sen. “Moderate Mike” Roberson has already proposed. A $600 million tax increase on mining if the industry’s protection is stripped away. And believe you me, that’ll only be the opening gambit. Once mining is laid bare, legislative efforts to rape and pillage the industry will be relentless and non-stop!
Allow me to now point out the obvious conservative position on this issue…
We shouldn’t be trying to remove the constitutional protections mining has from being robbed by never-satisfied legislators.
Instead, conservatives should be trying to afford similar constitutional protections for the rest of Nevada’s industries!
Now THAT’S my idea of “fairness.”
You’re So Vain, You Probably Think this Item’s About You
Ah, how to win friends and influence people.
While watching on TV an Assembly hearing on the mining bill yesterday, and “angered” Sen. “Moderate Mike” Roberson got his panties in a wad over the testimony of supporters of the mining industry.
So the MINORITY Leader stormed out of his office and “strode into the hearing room” – perhaps like he was walking onto a yacht? – and lectured the gathered Assembly members to be “smart” and not listen to the highly-respected and well-regarded industry advocates who Roberson essentially called liars.
Reportedly after leaving the hearing room, Moderate Mike wasn’t sure if he should go to the bathroom or go back to his office, so he called Monte Miller
And the beat goes on…
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval broke his word in the last legislative session and decided to extend some $600 million worth of “temporary” tax hikes passed in 2009 to balance his budget.
However, in early May of 2011 the Economic Forum had declared that there would be an additional $300 million to spend thanks to a slightly recovering economy. So what the governor should have done – if he was intent on breaking his word about raising taxes instead of cutting spending – was extend only $300 million of the “temporary” tax hikes and use the windfall from the Economic Forum to make up the other half of the deficit.
Instead, our Artful Dodger governor picked the entire $600 million worth of “temporary” tax hikes from our pockets AND spent the additional $300 million windfall!
Fast-forward to this year’s legislative session. The governor has already built his budget around extending that $600 million worth of “temporary” tax hikes yet again. And once again the Economic Forum has projected another windfall for the upcoming biennium; this one a more modest $44 million bonanza.
Did the governor reduce the amount of “temporary” tax hikes to be extended by $44 million to give Nevada taxpayers at least a little relief? Heck, no! Instead he released the following statement…
“…I will propose that the $44 million increase be directed to K-12 education, health and human services, economic development and the rainy day fund.”
That’s right. Your taxes are going to go back up on July 1st while the governor spends the additional revenue being generated by a barely recovering economy. And with that in mind, hop into the Wayback Machine with me for a minute…
Ten years ago – thanks to the Gibbons Tax Restraint Initiative, which requires a 2/3 super-majority vote for the Legislature to pass any tax hikes – 15 GOP legislators in the Assembly banded together and blocked then-Gov. Kenny Guinn’s proposed “Mother of All Tax Hikes” (until the Nevada Supreme Court intervened).
Those 15 Republicans became known as the “Lean 15” by conservatives and the “Mean 15” by liberals.
Guess what? There are 15 Republicans in the State Assembly this year!
Indeed, if today’s 15 Republicans were smart (cough!), they’d band together and refuse to vote for the governor’s budget and tax hikes unless (a) the $44 million windfall is used for tax relief and/or (b) serious changes are made to the Big Labor welfare program known as “prevailing wage,” which drives the cost of taxpayer-funded construction projects through the roof.
The 15 Republicans in the Assembly have an opportunity here to reconstitute the “Lean 15” and be both relevant and true champions of fiscal conservatism…if they don’t blow it.
Perhaps not since Benedict Arnold sold out the American patriot movement have we seen such a betrayal as that of Republican State Sen. Mike Roberson to all that’s held dear by the Nevada conservative movement this legislative session.
If only I were embellishing.
The conservative Nevada Republican Party platform for the last 20+ years hasn’t changed much. Low taxes. Check. Limited government. Check. More money won’t fix education. Check. Class-size reduction hasn’t worked. Check. English immersion. Check. Teachers union is the problem. Check.
I mean, you could look it up. The GOP has been quite clear on these issues.
And then along comes the Dirty Half-Dozen Gang…Sens. Roberson, Ben Kieckhefer, Greg Brower, Scott Hammond, Joe Hardy and Mark Hutchison…with their jaw-dropping proposal to rob $600 million from Nevada’s mining industry, one of the few healthy employers left in Nevada and the biggest, most important for many rural counties.
Now bear in mind, this tax hike wasn’t proposed to make Nevada’s tax structure more “fair” or “stable.” No, Roberson and his gang of Republican tax-and-spend pick-pockets want to expand government and, stealing a page from the liberal playbook, are trying to sell this stink-pickle as “for the children.”
Cynically and laughably, they’re calling their massive tax hike the “Education Priority Initiative” (gag!). Indeed, instead of championing school choice, vouchers and other true education reforms, the Dirty Half-Dozen Gang has conceded the left’s incessant and false claim that we’re not funding the government-run schools sufficiently.
So thus far we have a betrayal of the GOP’s known position on tax hikes, spending increases and whether or not more money is the cure for our “failure factories” managed and operated by paper-pushing bureaucrats and greedy union bosses.
But it gets worse.
Roberson and company propose to use the $600 million to reduce class sizes…even though Nevada’s dozen-plus year experiment in class-size reduction for grades 1-3 has done absolutely nothing to significantly boost education performance, while costing taxpayers some 10 times its original estimate.
In addition, the Dirty Half-Dozen Gang proposes to spend millions of dollars on feel-good English language learner programs that have not proved to help children more than simple English immersion.
“Successful schools have found students learn English faster when the native language is
strictly limited,” reports the Lexington Institute on the success of immersion in California. “They aim to get students using English from the get go.”
Of course, the enemy of education reform here and elsewhere is the teachers union, which actively opposes and tries to defeat all but the most liberal (or unopposed) Republican candidates. Yet the Dirty Half-Dozen Gang’s plan would result in hiring some 4,000 new anti-GOP dues-paying unionistas!
Heckuva a job, Robey. Even Judas stands in awe at your audacity.