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Look! A Crocodile! Feed It! Push Charlie In!

Since the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) is opposed to the imposition of a corporate income tax, and its own poll released this week showed public support for a corporate income tax, many were left scratching their heads, wondering why RAN would release results that apparently weaken and undermine its own position.

Speculation in the halls of the Legislature is that RAN’s lobbyists have come to the conclusion that the Democrats are correct; that Nevada needs to raise taxes and higher taxes are inevitable. And while the poll results buttress that conclusion, they hope to change the means.

RAN’s rumored position is that retailers shouldn’t be the only ones forced to serve as tax collectors for the government; that it’s time to spread the bureaucratic pain and start forcing service providers – such as barbers, dry cleaners and auto mechanics – to collect taxes from the rest of us and remit them so as to head off any efforts to impose a corporate income tax on all businesses.

In other words, if such speculation is accurate, the retailers are pre-emptively throwing their fellow businessmen under the bus in an effort to hopefully avoid additional pain on themselves. Or as Ronald Reagan might have put it, RAN is feeding the crocodile hoping it will eat them last.

I know and like the RAN folks. I hope this isn’t true. But I’ve seen this play before.

For years, mining has tried selling out other businesses to keep from having mining taxes raised. Gaming has tried selling out other businesses to keep from having gaming taxes raised. Last spring the truckers conceded the inevitability of higher taxes in hopes of avoiding a fuel tax hike. And now, retailers appear to be selling out service businesses to keep from having a corporate income tax imposed.

The Left is great at playing the business community for suckers in this game.

First they sell the public on the “need” for higher revenue – in good times or bad. Then they divide and conquer. They try to pit one business group or industry against the other. And rather than banding together and forming a united front to oppose the very notion that government “needs” to grow, lobbyists for these disparate business entities devote their time and energy trying to persuade legislators not to tax THEM, but some other guy.

The bottom line, of course, is that it’s ultimately the average citizen and consumer – you and me – who eventually gets stuck with the bill.

This is why Citizen Outreach has formed the Nevada Business Coalition (NBC). We’re against the imposition of a new corporate income tax. We’re opposed to the creation of a new tax on services. We’re opposed to raising fuel or weight-and-distance taxes. We’re opposed to raising taxes on mining. We’re opposed to raising taxes on gaming. We’re opposed to raising taxes on ourselves OR “the guy behind the tree.”

While other business groups, associations, organizations and chambers of commerce scramble around trying to put themselves in a position to throw someone else under the bus, NBC’s objective is to stop the bus so that NO ONE is run over.

“No new taxes” isn’t just a simplistic slogan. It’s a means to a philosophical end. Conservatives no longer want the government to do more with less; we want the government to do less with less. As Barry Goldwater put it, our objective isn’t to make government more efficient, but to shrink its size. To that end, we favor starving the crocodile rather than feeding him our allies, hoping he’ll eat us last.

If only our allies would come to the same conclusion.