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Sandoval: How to talk out of both sides of your mouth without even trying

The gross receipts tax – Gruber Tax* – proposed by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R-Advertising) last week is, in reality, no different from the gross margins tax proposed by the teachers union last year which voters clobbered at the polls by 80 percent.  Sandoval is calling it something else, but a turd by any other name stinks as bad.

And the arguments against the Gruber Tax are no different from the arguments Sandoval himself made just 10 months ago against the margins tax.  Consider these excerpts from a Las Vegas Review-Journal story about a speech Sandoval made last March…

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday said Nevada voters shouldn’t be fooled by the name of a proposed “Education Initiative,” saying proponents are trying to sell a new tax that would deliver “the fatal blow” to many Nevada businesses and halt the state’s economic recovery.

They shouldn’t be fooled by calling his new tax hike a “business license fee” either!

“We’re going to need everybody’s help to defeat one of the worst tax proposals Nevada has seen for many, many years,” Sandoval told more than 300 lawmakers and business leaders at the Nevada Taxpayer Association’s 92nd annual luncheon, which took place at The Orleans hotel-casino.

Ditto defeating Sandoval’s Gruber Tax.

Sandoval, a former federal judge, used lawyerly language to slam proponents for using education to market the tax.

Yet Sandoval had no problem whatsoever using education to market his own Gruber Tax proposal in his State of the State address last Thursday night.

“All things being equal, we prefer to keep more of our earnings,” Sandoval said. “That fact makes new taxes a tough sell. As such, the proponents of new taxes, like any good marketer, ignore what’s unpopular about the product. Instead, they point to the alleged benefits of the tax, rarely mentioning the costs.”

Said the pot to the kettle.  Indeed, Sandoval is now ignoring the billion dollar price tag for his own education proposal and is only selling the benefits of “New Nevada.”

Sandoval said he recently visited a 40-year-old “mom and pop” company with 148 employees whose owners said that if the margins tax passes, they will be forced out of business.

“They told me if the margins tax were approved, that would be the fatal blow to their business,” he said, adding workers who have been with the company since its start would lose their jobs. “The margins tax would be the fatal blow to many businesses, and that is something that I just cannot accept.”

That was then; this is now.  Not only can Sandoval now “accept” a tax hike that “would be a fatal blow” to many small Nevada businesses, he’s PROPOSING one!

He said Nevada has added 60,000 jobs since he took office in 2011, but the state lost some 170,000 jobs overall during the recession and has “a long way to go” to recover. The margins tax could block that, he said.  “Nevada’s economy is still fragile, and nothing is certain” despite 36 straight months of job growth, he said. “The margins tax, if approved, will jeopardize Nevada’s recovery.”

If it was true then, it’s still true today.  Nevertheless, Sandoval is willing to risk Nevada’s fragile economy by pushing his own version of the margins tax during the upcoming legislative session.

“Spending is so much more enjoyable when you ignore where the money comes from,” Sandoval said.

And he appears to be enjoying the heck out of it!

Let’s face it, Sandoval has been a government employee most of his adult life.  And from what I’ve been told, both of his parents were lifetime government employees.  What in the world does this guy know about the hardships of running a business in the private sector?

Then again, what does he care?  He’s spending somebody else’s money, which is “so enjoyable.”

“But we must try to resist the easy temptation to forget the burdens of taxation, even when that burden may fall on someone else.”

Physician, heal thyself!