It’s “Battered Republican Syndrome” all over again.
This budget deal – which has media-types who spat out Gov. Brian Sandoval’s name in disgust as recently as a week ago now singing his praises – is like a kettle of dead fish festering on a Las Vegas alley in the middle of July. The smell just gets worse the longer it sits out there.
The unions are the Democrat Party’s base of support, especially the teachers union. Limited-government conservatives, including tea partiers, are the GOP’s base.
The Democrats know better than to abandon their core supporters. Indeed, back in March Assemblyman Tick Segerblom said quite bluntly, “If we p*ss off the teachers, then we are a defunct party. They are the backbone of our party.”
But Republicans have no such compunction when it comes to their own base. They flip conservatives the bird and throw them under the bus legislative session after session after session. And 2011 was no different.
Republicans failed to honor their commitment to not extend $600 million worth of “temporary” Bill Raggio tax hikes which were scheduled to “sunset” at the end of this month. And they didn’t even get their supposed “hill to die for” – reforms to curtail lawsuit abuse in frivolous so-called “construction defect” cases which enrich the trial lawyers which enrich Democrats.
Don’t let the Republican legislators who support this deal fool you with their BS press releases and statements. They had options and alternatives; they just didn’t have any convictions.
The Grand Compromise, described as “groundbreaking” and “historic,” was nothing more than business as usual. The Democrats got what they wanted while Republicans got little more than table scraps. Yum.
And yet….the Democrats aren’t satisfied with an additional $600 million worth higher taxes in the form of the sunset extension in the Grand Compromise. Nothing is ever enough for them. They always come back for more, more, more. Gimme, gimme, gimme.
Indeed, Ray Hagar of the Reno Gazette-Journal reported on Wednesday that Democrats are already laying plans to pursue a ballot initiative or two to tax your haircuts and dry cleaning, as well as impose the corporate income tax, Gross Receipts 2.0, they reflexively salivate over.
Republicans on the other hand, as Minority Leader Pete Goicochea put it, “just want to go home.” Selling out is hard work, don’t you know.
But let’s get into some of the more sordid details of the deal, shall we?
Figures Don’t Add Up
Following announcement of the Grand Compromise, the administration claimed it had cut spending $500 million…which immediately calls into question why we needed to increase taxes $600 million to fund a budget that was $500 million less? Clinger math.
It’s also interesting to note what the $500 million represents. It’s actually the hole created after legislators irresponsibly used $450 million worth of federal “stimulus” money – which stimulated nothing more than even higher unemployment – for ongoing programs in the 2009 budget rather than treating it as the one-shot infusion of cash that it was.
So that $500 million “cut” in this week’s budget deal is really a cut in spending that should have been cut in 2009. You’ll pardon me if I don’t see this “cut” as particularly applause-worthy.
As for the high-fiving of the deal to eliminate the payroll tax completely from small businesses but not big businesses (“To each according to need; from each according to ability”), consider this counter-argument, as sent to me by a small business advocate:
“Let’s say you own a small business with a payroll of $240,000. Right now your tax liability is $12,000. Come July 1 your liability will be $0. Now let’s say you see some growth and want to hire another employee at $50,000. Your payroll will grow to $290,000 and your tax liability is now $33,900. Do you really think a business owner will actually hire that employee and assume a tax liability like that?”
And then there’s this concern about the much-ballyhooed education reforms raised by a Muth’s Truths reader who requested anonymity so as not to incur the wrath of the teachers union:
“I have a friend who is a ‘tenured’ CCSN professor. Last night he told me that the ‘fix’ is in concerning ‘tenure,’ performance evaluation in hiring/retention policies, and re-opening collective bargaining during times of economic re-alignment. His union bosses have assured him that they’ve been assured that all of these concessions by the minority will be overturned by either selected state or federal court judges who are in the pockets of the u
And then there’s the unsavory let’s-make-a-deal component of the Grand Compromise which smacks of the Louisiana Purchase and Cornhusker Kickback trades for ObamaCare votes.
To buy Sen. Joe Hardy’s vote, Sen. Harry Reid reportedly promised that long-awaited, much-needed Boulder City bypass. As far as sell-outs go, at least Sen. Hardy appears to have gotten something quite significant for his constituents, far in excess of 30 pieces of silver.
Ditto Sen. Dean Rhoads. For his sell-out vote, the term-limited senator reportedly will receive about $2.5 million for the Wells Conservation Camp. Nice parting gift. Don’t let the door hit you.
And then there’s Sen. Ben Kieckhefer. What a low-rent street-walker.
After famously declaring on Tax Day, April 15, that “If I could get Jesus to walk through that door, I might trade taxes for it.” Well, Jesus didn’t walk through any doors, yet Kieckhefer reportedly traded his vote on the budget deal for, get this….a lousy $25,000 for the arts council.
Yeah, there’s an essential government service!
Not only is Kieckhefer a political prostitute, he’s a cheap one at that! But fret not for young Ben’s future. Expect him to trade his Senate seat sometime after the session for a lucrative lobbying career. Maybe he can nab that coveted slot as the brothel association’s lobbyist to replace retiring George Flint.
As for Assembly Republicans who vote for the Grand Compromise…who cares? They have been, and continue to be, irrelevant. We’ll simply wait to see who sells out and “primary” those who live in Republican-majority districts after redistricting.
Let me wrap this one up with this final thought:
Walk the Plank!
As I warned back in the Sandoval administration’s formative days, personnel is policy. And the fact that the administration is populated by moderates and not a single known movement conservative surely accounts, in part, for this “deal.” And that’s especially true of Sandoval chief-of-staff Heidi Gansert.
Gansert was never a fiscal budget hawk as an Assemblywoman, or as Minority Leader in 2009. That’s part of the reason why the tough spending reduction decisions were kicked down the road last session. So it should come as no surprise that she was one of the administration’s happiest compromisers when push came to shove this week.
But here’s the thing: Democrats and Gov. Sandoval only need three GOP sell-outs in the Senate and two GOP sell-outs in the Assembly. And they have them. But that’s not enough for Gansert. Indeed, she is applying, as it has been described to me, “heavy pressure” on all the other Republicans to also vote for the Grand Compromise to give Democrats and the governor even greater cover of “bipartisanship.”
If a majority of Republicans vote for the budget deal, the D’s and the governor will greatly mitigate the potential political damage for future elections. But in voting for the deal, those same Republicans will be cutting their own political throats. That Gansert is even asking them to do so, let alone pressuring them, is outrageous.
If you want to jump off a cliff, fine. But don’t pressure others to needlessly do the same. I hope the Governor calls off the dogs on this.
And with that in mind, let me clear up what some seem unwilling or unable to understand about all of this and my position on Gov. Sandoval. As I’ve written before, I don’t agree with the Governor’s decision and think the deal stinks; however, I refuse to allow the Left, and even some on the Right, to drive a wedge between us over this.
He did what he thought he had to do. We’ll agree to disagree and move forward.
That said, there is NO reason for supposed conservative Republican legislators who represent Republican-majority districts to vote for this budget deal. The Democrats already have their three sell-outs in the Senate and two in the Assembly to pass it. They want, but sure as heck don’t need, any other GOP legislators to walk the plank.
Any who do, do so willingly…and deserve a primary challenge in 2012. If you can’t understand this distinction, I can’t help you. If you think this is hypocritical…what-ever. Get over it.
And finally, Ass. Mark Sherwood is a goofball and major league embarrassment. He gets primaried whether he votes for the budget deal or not. I’m as much opposed to stupidity as liberalism. Adios, el Stupido Supremo.