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Sunset Extension Doesn’t Even Pass Ralston’s Muster

Democrats, and some Republicans in the state Assembly, would have you believe that extending the 2009 tax hikes scheduled to sunset on June 30th is not a tax hike. Well, that dog won’t hunt. If Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston, who fervently believes Nevada needs higher revenue, ain’t buyin’ it, no one will:

“Most observers think the only component of the plan with any chance is the continuation of sales and business taxes scheduled to sunset June 30. This is seen as easier to spin because it’s not a tax increase if you continue existing taxes. I think this is actually the worst part of the plan and the easiest to criticize.

“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. Second, the very taxes the Democrats want to keep alive, sales and payroll taxes, are the same ones they argue are inimical to the state’s long-term fiscal health – at least the way they are constituted now. And, third, I know one Legislature can’t bind another but: Lawmakers two years ago, by putting on the sunsets, pledged to their constituents they would raise those taxes only for two years. This would be a broken promise.”

When you can’t even sell Jon Ralston on your scheme to extend the sunsets, you’re in a world of hurt.