Make no mistake, state Sen. Bill Raggio (R-Reno) is still the Senate Majority Leader – it’s just a bi-partisan majority that he’s leading in this final month of this legislative session. Let me explain.
Thanks to the state’s 2/3 tax restraint law, Senate Democrats need two Senate GOP votes to pass the “revenue enhancement” package they’ve been secretly crafting behind closed doors for the last three months. And unless Sen. Raggio gives his blessing, not a single GOP senator will break ranks and vote for it.
Unlike 2003 – when Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn was the driving force for what is currently the largest tax increase in Nevada’s history – Gov. Jim Gibbons has served notice that he will veto any further tax hikes passed by the Legislature this year. And without Sen. Raggio’s support, no gubernatorial veto override is possible.
Meanwhile, thanks to beating the living snot out of Assembly Republicans at the ballot box last year, Democrats have gained a 2/3 super-majority in the lower house. So the rudderless Assembly Republicans are, once again, pretty much irrelevant. And any Republican in the Assembly who spits in the governor’s eye and votes for the Democrat tax hike probably ought to consider following Arlen Specter out the GOP door.
Which means Sen. Raggio holds all the cards and completely controls the end game for this session. If he says “yes” to a tax hike this year, there will be a tax hike. If he says “no” to a tax hike this year, there won’t be any tax hike. It’s just that simple.
But with great power comes great responsibility. So this also means any tax hike which is passed this session will be “The Bill Raggio Tax Hike of 2009.” Sen. Raggio, all by himself, has the power to stop any tax hike this session. Period. Even if the tax hike passes in the Legislature with 40 Democrats and only 2 Republicans, it will still go down in history as the Raggio Tax Hike.
Now, for the thousands of average citizens who turned out all across Nevada and participated in the recent TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties, and the tens of thousands more who wanted to participate but couldn’t, who are asking “What next?” – this is it.
As casino executive Steve Wynn said recently, “Anybody who raises taxes now is psychotic.” If you agree with Mr. Wynn that it would be “psychotic” to raise taxes in the middle of this recession, go to www.StopTheRaggioTaxHike.com and follow the links to call or email Sen. Raggio and urge him to oppose raising taxes and fees or creating any new ones.
Speak now or forever hold your peace. The end is near.