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Sandoval and the Tax Pledge

Immediately upon announcing as a Republican candidate for governor last week, former federal judge Brian Sandoval declared that the would not sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising voters that as governor he would “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

Now, if Sandoval comes up with a legitimate reason for not signing the Pledge even though he has already said in interviews that he will not raise taxes, I’m happy to entertain it. However, here’s what he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the topic:

“I’ve just never been a believer in signing pledges. I’m more than happy to sit down with everyone who wants to talk about those things and I think anyone who is seeking for me to sign a pledge of any kind once they sit down with me they’ll understand perfectly where I’m coming from when it comes to spending and that I’m very fiscally conservative.”

Hmm. I wonder if he signed a pledge to repay the mortgage on his house. Or the loan his car? Or did his banks grant him those loans on his word and a handshake?

And what about using his credit card when shopping at Wal-Mart. When the clerk hands him the sales slip to sign pledging to pay for the purchase, does Sandoval say “I don’t believe in signing pledges and if you would just sit down with me you’d understand where I’m coming from”?

The problem facing Brian Sandoval and others who “say” they’re not going to raise taxes but don’t think they should put that promise in writing is that so many politicians in the past have broken such verbal promises or found “loopholes” in their campaign commitments once elected.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio is a perfect example. In his primary race in 2008, Sen. Raggio declared emphatically, “Well, I’m not going to raise taxes, I can guarantee you that.”

Guar-an-tee.

Yet after safely being re-elected, Sen. Raggio went on to vote for over a billion dollars worth of higher taxes in the 2009 session of the Legislature.

Working families and small businessmen have read candidates’ lips before and got burned. So with all due respect, we prefer to get promises made by politicians in writing. Doing so in blood is still optional. For now.