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Divided Republicans Speaking with Forked Tongues

At the tea party rally in Carson City on Friday, Assemblyman John Ellison (R-Elko) declared that Assembly Republicans “are sticking together as a team and will stick together until the end” as far as raising taxes is concerned.

Really? Does anyone believe that? If so, have I got a deal for you on waterfront property at Walker Lake!

Truth is, Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea just this week, in a story in the Elko Daily Free Press, reiterated his willingness to negotiate with the Democrats for a tax hike.

So if legislative Republicans are “sticking together as a team,” then why isn’t Goicoechea talking like Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, who on Friday told the Las Vegas Review-Journal flat out, “I’m not trading. Very candidly, none of our bills are worth trading for.”

The fact of the matter is this: Every Republican member of the state Senate signed their names to a letter over a month ago stating their unequivocal support for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s no-new-taxes budget. On the other hand, Assembly Republicans have NOT signed a similar letter of support, including Mr. Ellison.

Legislative Republicans are truly united in their division.

If Assembly Republicans and Mr. Ellison he were REALLY sticking together on Gov. Sandoval’s team, they’d be talking like Senate Republicans and Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno), who when asked about negotiating for tax hikes by the Review-Journal this week, responded: “If I could get Jesus to walk through that door, I might trade taxes for it.”

Yep. The one exception to the rule.

The fact is, Assembly Republicans are NOT united in their support for Gov. Sandoval. Indeed, their leaders – Goicoechea, Stewart, Grady and Sherwood – continue to negotiate an extension of $650 million worth of tax hikes that are scheduled to sunset on June 30th, while the four members who signed the Tax Pledge – Goedhart, Hambrick, McArthur and Livermore – are solidly against any sort of capitulation.

As for the rest, they’re lost balls in the high weeds. Some privately say they’re on the team and with the governor but are reluctant to say so publicly, afraid of getting the Democrats mad at them. Others, indeed, are backing “Tax My Meat” Pete’s collaboration with the opposition.

The Republican Assembly caucus is a mess – but I repeat myself. They are not speaking with one voice. They are not hanging together, and will soon hang separately. The Democrats don’t trust them because Goicoechea’s demands aren’t serious and everyone knows it. And Republicans don’t trust them because they’re talking out of both sides of their mouths. As such, they are – what’s the word?…oh, yeah – irrelevant.

It’s only a matter of time before some of them get rolled and fold on the tax issue. Primary challengers, start your engines!