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Mining for Left-Right Common Ground

Some folks still don’t fully understand the intent and purpose of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Sen. Michael Roberson isn’t one of them.

The purpose of the Pledge is to stop legislators from raising taxes in order to grow government. It is NOT intended to block efforts to “reform” a tax system in an effort to make it more stable or fair.

So, for example, if you think it’s unfair that those big monster trucks are tearing up Nevada’s highways and think perhaps they should pay higher taxes while lowering the cost of operating passeger vehicles in a way that doesn’t result in a net increase in revenue going to the government, that is NOT a violation of the Tax Pledge.

Now, you may object to such a revenue-neutral tax reform proposal….and yes, the big truckers would be having their taxes raised while the rest of us have our taxes lowered…but such a revenue-neutral tax reform proposal would NOT be a Tax Pledge violation. You could look it up.

So when Pledge-signers such as Sen. Roberson suggest that perhaps we should consider cutting the vehicle registration taxes we all pay on our cars while eliminating some tax exemptions Nevada’s mining industry pays in a revenue-neutral fashion, it might be a proposal some folks would oppose, but it would NOT be a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

If liberal activists and Democrat legislators were truly being honest in saying they’re interested in broadening Nevada’s tax base and making the system more fair, they’d do well to solicit support from Republicans by doing it in a revenue-neutral fashion. But if all they really want to do is raise taxes on mining or truckers without lowering taxes as an offset somewhere else….they’re just whistling Dixie.

Indeed, such a Left-Right rapprochement could be in the cards, as Ben Spillman of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Saturday that Jan Gilbert of the Progressive Leadership Alliance said she “would consider signing off on a tax swap if it accomplished their goal of forcing mining to carry a bigger share of the state’s tax burden.”

It’d be a marriage made in heaven. Now about those tractor-trailers….