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Sandoval Surrenders Tax Fight without Shot Being Fired

Here’s the painful lesson Nevada citizens and small businesses learned again this week: You can’t trust the word of any politician…even that of a former federal judge.

The following facts are inarguable.

First, Brian Sandoval ran for governor on the verbal promise to absolutely, positively oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes, including extending the 2009 “temporary” tax hikes that we were promised would expire last June 30. However, the candidate refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to that effect, claiming that his word was his bond.

Junk bond, as it turns out.

Using a last-minute court case to wriggle out from his campaign promises, Sandoval engineered a $600 million tax hike last June in the form of an extension of the “temporary” tax hikes we were all told would expire. The spoonful of sugar to help this tax hike go down was yet another promise that the new-and-improve (though not lemon-scented!) “temporary” tax hike would also expire next year.

Fooled ya again, Charlie Brown!

On Tuesday, waving the white flag before the first shot was even fired, Sandoval announced that the budget he’s building for the next biennium will include making the “temporary” tax hikes permanent.

And what concessions did the governor get in return from the Democrats? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Only complaints that it still wasn’t enough.

No construction defects reform. No serious PERS/PEBS concessions. No school vouchers. No hard spending caps. No nothing. Textbook example of “unconditional” surrender. The handsome governor actually out-Frenched the French on this one.

And here’s the second inarguable fact: This is a tax hike. This is a tax hike. This is a tax hike. And this is a tax hike.

But don’t take my word for it (though you may as well, because…this is a tax hike), take liberal columnist Jon Ralston’s word for it. Seriously, even though Jon is a huge advocate for higher taxes, he rebutted the contention of Gov. Sandoval that extending the sunsets isn’t a tax hike.

“First, it is a tax increase – $600 million worth – when a tax that is not supposed to exist on July 1…exists on July 1,” Jon wrote on May 8th during last year’s legislative session.

It’s a tax increase. It’s a tax increase. It’s a tax increase. Tinkling down my leg and telling me it’s raining doesn’t mean it’s raining. It’s a tax increase. Plain. Simple. Case closed.

So what are Republicans, conservatives, taxpayers, tea partiers and small businesses gonna do about it? What they always do…nothing. They will, as usual, take the advice of former Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Clayton Wheat “Claytie” Williams Jr. who infamously once said, “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

Others might. I won’t.