Good grief, here we go again.
In 2006, Gov. Jim Gibbons signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising Nevadans that if they would just elect him he would “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” That pledge includes fees (other than user fees), and the governor has said so on many occasions.
Gibbons already shattered his campaign promise this session by including a whopping $292 million room tax hike in his budget last January, which the Legislature passed in March.
Now along comes that same tax-happy Legislature with a new bill (SB 14) to hike the marriage license tax (fee) by a hefty 25%. The reason given, according to Republican Minority Leader Heidi Gansert – who voted for the marriage tax hike, just as she did the room tax hike – is that revenue is off because the number of marriages is down.
So legislators have now made the cost of getting married even higher? Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
Only three Republican in the Assembly voted against this tax hike: Assemblymen Goedhart, Cobb and McArthur.
But back to Gibbons. This fee is NOT a user fee. To qualify as a user fee, “individuals must have the choice whether to purchase the service from government (and thus pay the fee) or to purchase the service from a private business.” And since only the government can issue marriage licenses, people wanting to get married in Nevada have no choice but to pay the government. Therefore this is NOT a user fee.
Even a public school third-grader can understand this concept.
But not Jim Gibbons.
The Las Vegas Sun reported today that “Gibbons’ spokesman, Dan Burns, said the governor will sign the bill when it comes to his desk,” thus violating the Taxpayer Protection Pledge he made to voters for the third time (and counting) this session.
But wait, it gets even worse.
In a May 2, 2009, Las Vegas Sun story, it was reported that legislators wanted to allow “commercial weddings in the Valley of Fire State Park in western Clark County….and raise the fee from $15 to $150.”
Now follow me on this…..
If someone does not want to pay the fee to have their wedding in the Valley of Fire, there are PLENTY of private alternatives where you can hold your wedding instead. Therefore, the fee charged to hold your wedding at the Valley of Fire State Park is a TRUE user fee. And, therefore, raising THAT fee would NOT be a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
“Gibbons nixed the plan because it was an increase in fees.”
Oh for crying out loud. Somebody, please make it stop!