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The Trail of Tax Hike Tears

OK, would somebody please name one legislative candidate who ran last year on this platform: “Elect me and I’ll vote for a billion dollars worth of higher taxes.” Just one.

* During the big veto photo-op on Thursday afternoon and in a subsequent press release, Gov. Jim Gibbons said the following: “Raising taxes during an economic crisis is foolish and shortsighted. I made a promise a long time ago that I intend to keep. No new taxes.” If only he had kept that promise earlier in the session when he proposed in his budget and allowed to become law a $232 million room tax increase. That was foolish and shortsighted on the governor’s part.

* In vetoing their tax-hikes on Thursday, Gov. Jim Gibbons said “the liberal leadership in the Legislature took the easy way out with these bills. They want more money from citizens who have less.” Alas, that “liberal leadership” includes Republican Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio and Republican Assembly Leader Heidi Gansert. Sounds like it’s the GOP’s turn for some serious “change.”

* As usual, Republican legislators sold their conservative souls to the Democrats for table scraps. The reforms to government employee health care and retirement benefits they demanded in exchange for their tax-hike votes will only apply to workers hired after next January 1. So GOP legislators voted for a billion dollars worth of higher taxes and got absolutely NOTHING in return by way of reduced costs for the current government workforce. Way to negotiate guys! No wonder the Democrats love you.

* Assemblyman Ed Goedhart (R-Amargosa Valley) characterized GOP boasting over what they got in return for their tax-hike votes thusly: “It’s like going into a car dealer and paying full sticker-price for a brand new Corvette but patting yourself on the back for talking the salesman into throwing in a free cigarette lighter.” Yup.

* Not only are most Republicans furious with Republican Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio – who single-handedly handed Democrats their billion dollar tax hike this session – but they’re equally torqued over his rush to override Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto. “What is most appalling is that you decided to cast (your override) vote a mere FIVE HOURS after the Veto,” wrote Richard Scotti, a member of the Nevada Republican Central Committee on Friday morning, “without allowing any time for further rational consideration, or time to hear what your constituents felt, or the consequences of your actions. Your legacy will now be the greatest tax-and-spend Republican that this state has every had.” Yup.

* In deflecting the governor’s criticism of their billion dollar tax hikes, Democrat Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley said the Legislature “spent months ensuring our decisions were the right ones.” Of course, she and her accomplices spent all those months in secret, closed-door meetings….and they STILL made the wrong decisions.

* Back in January, the Las Vegas Sun reported that “Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said the Legislature intends to overhaul the state’s financial structure” in the 2009 legislative session. Yet despite her party enjoying a majority in the state Senate and a super-majority in the state Assembly, there were no changes made to the state’s tax structure this year. All they did was raise existing taxes through the roof. Not exactly “mission accomplished” if you’re a liberal dying to add new taxes to dry cleaning and haircuts and the like.

* Last June, after the first Special Session of the Legislature to deal with the budget crisis and approve the cuts recommended by Gov. Gibbons, Democrat Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley boldly declared: “I will do everything in my power…to never do this again. . . . Let me repeat: I am not going to do this again.” And yet, despite having all the power she could ever want with a lock-step supermajority in her house, the Speaker failed to enact her liberal agenda and we get to do this all over again in 2011 when our failed Speaker hopes to be our failed governor. Oh, joy.

* Sen. Warren Hardy (RINO-Las Vegas) voted to override the governor’s veto of the billion dollar tax hike, acknowledging that it was “not the best thing for business right now, but neither is closing one of our universities.” Problem is: No one ever proposed closing down one of our universities. Hardy is full of crap and talking like a liberal. Or is it a lobbyist?

* When people called Sen. Bill Raggio’s office voicing opposition to the billion dollar tax hike, his secretary was sarcastically asking people, “Well then, which schools should we close down instead?” But Patrick Gibbons of the Nevada Policy Research Institute has the answer: “The bad ones.” Gibbons says “schools that have failed to make the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) at least 4 years in a row…could be sold to private companies to run as charter schools or private schools and the state can offer those students scholarships to attend whatever school they want as a way of saying (we’re) sorry we gave you such a poor quality education for so long.” Amen.

* About that $70 million “Road to Nowhere” bill (AB 304) which Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford has been pushing to reopen F Street in Las Vegas: Gov. Jim Gibbons rightfully vetoed it on Friday. Let’s see how many legislators try to assuage their guilty white consciences by voting to override this racially-charged, economically foolish bill.

* $70 million to reopen an underpass so people won’t have to drive an extra five block and 63-seconds to get to downtown Las Vegas? Now, I’m no math wiz….but I think $70 million dollars would buy 1.4 million brand-spanking new $50 school textbooks. I mean, where in the heck are Sen. Horsford’s priorities?

* Heard it through the grapevine: Rumor has it that the reason Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford was so out front on raising taxes sky-high this session is that he didn’t have to worry about his efforts being used against him in next year’s campaign because he’s already been “juiced” in for some new gig in DC with the Obama administration once this legislative session is behind him. If true, that would certainly explain a lot of things.