Ray Hagar of the Reno Gazette-Journal has a very interesting, very telling and very revealing story today concerning all the jockeying around on how to balance Nevada’s budget this legislative session. Some highlights:
• Raising the white flag of surrender on taxes, Tray Abney of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce declared, “We are not about no new taxes, never. Our position is that we are willing to talk about taxes and talk about the resources necessary to fund the needs of our state.”
• Abney also suggested that there may be a “better way” to screw Nevada’s businesses with a tax other than the Modified Business Tax. With friends like Abney and the Chamber of Commerce, why do taxpayers and small businesses need enemies?
• The offer by Assembly Republican Leader Pete Goicoechea to negotiate an extension of the soon-to-be sunsetted tax hikes is giving aid-and-comfort to those who still hope to muscle a tax hike past Gov. Sandoval.
• Senate Republicans, on the other hand, including Sen. Dean Rhoads, remain rock-solid in backing Gov. Sandoval’s no-new-taxes budget. Why can’t Republicans in the Assembly get with the program, especially since they’re pretty much irrelevant on this issue anyway? Any tax-hike deal of Goicoechea’s won’t make it past the Senate to Sandoval’s desk. Duh.
• As I suggested weeks ago when he did it, Goicoechea’s “demands” in exchange for tax hikes were both nebulous and not taken seriously by Democrats. Speaker Oceguera confirms.
• Hagar reports that “Goicoechea stressed that his caucus was not proposing raising taxes, only keeping ones that are already in place.” Horse-(expletive). Those sunsetted taxes were sold to Nevada taxpayers as going away in June. If they don’t, it’ll be a tax hike. Plain and simple. Any suggestion to the contrary is a flat-out lie.
• The Senate’s most liberal member, Sheila Leslie, praises Goicoechea as a voice of capitulation…er, compromise, reminding everyone that “Pete Goicoechea was the one who said maybe we should tax groceries last summer.” Heckuva job, Pete!
• The true voice of reason in the story comes from Republican Assemblyman Pat Hickey who says legislative Democrats, “are just trying to shoot holes in the (governor’s) budget and mobilize public opinion in a such a way to traumatize parents about the impacts of the cuts.”
There’s more. Read it yourself here