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Why the Largest Tax Hike in Nevada History is likely to pass despite last November’s “Red Wave”

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge isn’t omnipotent, but it sure is a reliable gauge on where legislators will be on tax issues.

AB380 would make it easier for the government to force you to pay Nevada sales tax on your online purchases made from out-of-state companies.  It passed in the Assembly 33-9…with all 17 Democrats voting for it.  Naturally.

Among the 25 Republicans, only 9 voted against this effort to force you to pay sales taxes on online purchases made from out-of-state companies.  Eight of those 9 were Pledge signers.  The only GOP non-Pledge signer who voted “no” was Assemblyman John Ellison of Elko.  Naturally.

Liberal Republicans – such as Assemblywoman Chris “Let’s Make a Deal Edwards, Assemblyman Pat “The Appeaser” Hickey, Speaker-in-Reality Paul Anderson and Higher Taxation Chairman Derek Armstrong-Anderson all voted to sock you with this Internet tax.  Naturally.

The two Pledge signers who voted to force you to pay sales taxes on online purchases made from out-of-state companies were Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick and Assemblywoman Robin Titus – both of whom also voted earlier this session to slap elk hunters with a new tax.

Many consider Assemblyman Ira Hansen to be a conservative.  But his conservatism is generally defined by social, not fiscal issues.  Indeed, Hansen has refused to sign the Tax Pledge and has voted to extend the “temporary” tax hikes from 2009 known as the “sunsets.

He also voted in favor of the elk tax hike this session, in addition to this Internet tax bill.

Freshman Assemblyman David Gardner has widely been championed as a solid conservative going into this session.  But he, too, chose not to sign the Tax Pledge and, disappointingly, voted for both the elk tax and the Internet tax.

What these votes tell us is that while Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed Business License Tax (SB252) as passed by the Senate is D.O.A. in the Assembly, some mutant version of it is likely to emerge and pass with the votes of some GOP legislators who claim to be conservatives but will vote like Hickey Republicans.

Indeed, as liberal blogger Jon Ralston (D-UI) twit-tweeted Thursday morning, it’s the Governor and GOP leaders in the Senate and Assembly – fueled by special interest money – against conservative think tank Nevada Policy Research Institute, our own Citizen Outreach, and conservative members of the Republican Assembly Caucus in the coming tax battle.

The tax hikers have the numbers and all the advantages: Money, power, influence, rings, pearls.

We’re armed only with being right on the issue.  It’s truly a David vs. Goliath mismatch.

Odds are, in the end, we’re gonna lose.   Taxes of some kind are likely to go up.  WAY up.

It will end up being the largest tax hike in Nevada history.  Larger even than the Mother of All Tax Hikes from 2003.

Is this what voters expected last November when they gave Republicans complete control of the government for the first time since 1929 and rejected a gross receipts tax on the ballot by almost 80 percent?

But this fight won’t end when this wasted opportunity of a GOP-majority session ends. In fact, the day the session ends will be the day the GOP primary season begins. Indeed, for some it’s already begun.

This wasted opportunity of the 2015 legislative session has taught conservatives an important lesson.

It’s not enough to just elect more Republicans.

We need to elect better ones, as well.