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Last Things First

Last summer, in the middle of a hotly contested Republican primary campaign against a conservative challenger, Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio (R-Reno) “guaranteed” voters that he wouldn’t be supporting any tax hikes this session.

“This is not the time to start talking about raising taxes,” Sen. Raggio told the Reno Gazette-Journal last August. “It is something that we can’t even consider.”

A few days later, the Minority Leader flatly told GOP primary voter Bob Kinnaman, “I’m not going to raise taxes, I can guarantee you that.”

Then he won. And some fine print to that “guarantee” magically appeared out of thin air. Tax hikes, the fine print apparently reads, would only be considered as a “last resort.”

Well, so much even for that.

We’re only six weeks into the session and so far the Legislature hasn’t voted to cut one thin dime from the budget. And yet on Tuesday Sen. Raggio voted for the third largest tax increase in the state’s history. So instead of raising taxes being Sen. Raggio’s last resort, it turns out to be his first resort.

Which should scare the bejeepers out of the Nevada business community.

In a recent speech, University Chancellor Jim Rogers called on the Legislature to pass a new corporate income tax on the state’s job-creators and economic engines. To which, according to the Las Vegas Business Press, Sen. Bill Raggio responded: “I do not support this. I don’t believe I could at this point in time, when the economy is leaving businesses in very bad shape as it is. A corporate income tax and a gross receipts tax is just out of the question.”

Uh-oh. That sounds like a “guarantee.” Corporate income tax, here we come!