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Nevada Republicans Once Again are Their Own Worst Enemy

(Chuck Muth) – Republicans may be in the minority in Carson City, but that doesn’t excuse them from being deaf mutes during the special session.  They may not be able to win votes inside the legislative chambers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win public support on the outside.

But they need to speak up in order to be heard.

To be fair, the GOP Senate and Assembly caucus did issue a few press statements during the special session.  But, as usual, they were lame, vague, general and had no coherent message, let alone a coordinated communications strategy.

They need better writers.

Republicans this week got pummeled, as usual, for hating children because they wouldn’t vote to raise taxes in the midst of the SISOLAK-19 economic shamdemic.

But instead of the ritual “Do not” response to the attacks, they should have, in unison, reminded everybody that the reason there’s a $1.2 billion budget hole is that Democrats, led by Gov. Steve Sisolak, have refused to shut down non-essential government in the same manner as they shut down supposedly “non-essential” businesses and the hundreds of thousands of supposedly “non-essential” private sector jobs that went with them.

Democrats made this mess.  They need to clean it up.  Without tax hikes.  How difficult of a message is that?

But to expect people addicted to government to not seek a “fix” by way of “enhanced revenue” – as the millennial snowflakes over at Battle Born Progress would put it – is to expect a rattlesnake not to bite if you try to pet it.

Raising taxes is just what they do.

In the case of this week’s special session, Democrats resurrected efforts (AB4) to raise taxes on mining – one of the few industries in the state that has remained comparatively strong during the #SisolakShutdown.  Which reminds me of an old Reagan quote…

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

In typical “never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity” GOP fashion, Republicans botched the messaging and political “strategery” on the new mining tax.

What they should have at least been saying throughout the process is the same simple thing former casino executive Steve Wynn said during the 2009 legislative session in the midst of the Great Recession…

“Anybody that raises any taxes now is purely psychotic.”

Instead we got all kinds of lame, convoluted arguments against this particular tax.  One of the main ones was that tax hikes shouldn’t target one specific industry.  But that dog won’t hunt.

Mining enjoys special protections against tax hikes that are embedded in our state Constitution that no other industry enjoys.  Sorry, but those special protections argue for special treatment when it comes to tax hikes.

If mining wants to be treated like every other industry in Nevada, then it should voluntarily give up their special carve out.

Don’t get me wrong.  I adamantly oppose the purely psychotic mining tax hike.  But I oppose ALL such tax hikes that do nothing but add fuel to the fire of government growth.  THAT’S the position Republicans – and all of Nevada’s business community – should be taking.

Instead, mining, gaming and other industries, over the years, have embraced the tax hike philosophy of…

“Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree!”

That’s mining’s problem.  Over the years the industry has supported tax hike after tax hike on the guys behind the tree hoping the crocodile would eat them last.

Well, no one’s left.  Now it’s dessert time.

And the business community at large has only itself to blame for the situation they now find themselves in.  It’s been supporting decidedly anti-business candidates in previous elections under the political calculation that they need “access” to those who wish to do them harm.

The business community, especially the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, has decidedly given the cold shoulder to fiscal conservatives, especially in GOP primaries.

That has resulted in Democrats controlling both houses of the Legislature, as well as electing Republicans who are willing to “cross the aisle” and give the D’s the “bi-partisan” cover they so desperately covet for tax hikes.

If the business community stopped “playing the game” and financially supported candidates who sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes” instead of hoping to persuade the unpersuadable not to raise taxes, it wouldn’t be in this mess.

“Politicians who refuse to sign the Pledge plan to raise taxes rather than reform government,” Grover Norquist, author of the Pledge warns. “Raising taxes is what weak and lazy politicians do. It’s easier than governing, making decisions, prioritizing, and learning from mistakes. Every politician has two choices. Reform government to work better/cost less, or raise taxes to pay more for more of the same.”

If all eight Republicans in the Senate were Pledge signers, the mining tax scheme wouldn’t have even been brought up during the special session.  But because so many Republicans are as pliable as Gumby on the tax issue, there was no reason for the D’s not to roll the dice.

After all, they only needed to peel off ONE “weak and lazy” Republican in the Senate to pass their tax hike.  And they almost got him.

Sen. Keith Pickard (RINO-Clark County) initially voted no on the mining tax hike late Thursday night.  Then his “brilliant” political consultants persuaded him to change his mind on Friday and offer to vote for the tax hike as long as the money raised was earmarked for the special interest of education.

It’s all for “the children,” you see.  An old trick the Democrats have used against Republicans for decades.  Yet Republicans keep falling for it.  You can’t fix stupid.

Then on Saturday Sen. Pickard had a “come to Jesus” meeting with members of his GOP caucus and flip-flopped again.

And while legislative Democrats yesterday embarked on a silly, childish “protest” by dumping a bunch of flip-flops outside Sen. Pickard’s legislative office, they had a legitimate point.

Sen. Pickard was against the mining tax before he was for it before he was against it again.  So this whole flip-flop circus was a self-inflicted wound.

But then Sen. Pickard went on the Senate floor Saturday night, in a futile and senseless effort at damage control, and uttered one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard a RINO (Republican in Name Only) say…

“To my friends at CCEA (Clark County teachers union), I am truly sorry. I wanted to find money for them. I just couldn’t take it out of someone’s pocket without their consent.”


The government is taking money out of ALL our pockets without our consent – with the rare exceptions of tax hikes that have been voted on by the people.

For example, did you ever consent to the Commerce Tax?  Of course not.  Actually, the exact opposite.  A similar business income tax on the 2014 ballot was overwhelmingly rejected by a vote of the people.  Then legislators in 2015 passed the Commerce Tax anyway.

What a dumb thing for Sen. Pickard to say.

Remember that quote in the future when Sen. Pickard supports some other kind of tax hike – like RINO Sen. Joe Hardy’s proposed $600 million tax on renewable energy that Sen. Pickard voiced support for.

So what we have here is Sen. Pickard voting against a $100 million tax hike on mining in favor of supporting a $600 million tax hike on YOUR electricity bill.  Did you consent to that?

Let’s wrap this up…

Democrats attempted to fill the $1.2 billion budget hole they and Gov. Steve Sisolak created, thanks to the #SisolakShutdown, by raising taxes.

They’ve known since the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre, when Sisolak ordered the #SisolakShutdown, that a HUGE hole was going to be created in the budget.

But instead of immediately laying off non-essential government workers and cutting non-essential government spending, Democrats sat of their hands, offered nothing but political posturing and wasted everyone’s time.

Then, once in the special session, they attempted to raise taxes to fill the hole they themselves dug.

And this wasn’t “for the children.”  No, it was so government workers across the board wouldn’t have to “suffer” having to take one unpaid furlough day a month from their jobs while many private sector workers have had their jobs eliminated completely.

The fact is, Democrats cut education spending so government employees would only have to take 6 unpaid furlough days a year instead of 12.  “The children” be damned.

Democrats, especially Gov. Sisolak, have botched handling the COVID-19 situation from Day One.

Democrats, especially Gov. Sisolak, have botched handling the hundreds of thousands of unemployment claims filed as a result of the #SisolakShutdown.

Democrats, especially Gov. Sisolak, have botched anticipating and dealing with the subsequent budget hole created by the #SisolakShutdown.

And Republicans, as usual, have botched hanging those failures around the necks of their political opponents so that voters would have a CLEAR and unmistakable choice in competitive legislative races this November.

As the great philosopher Pogo once put it: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”



“(Y)ou don’t get to claim to be the pro-business party when you try to replace a $102 million single-industry tax with a different $600 million single-industry tax. When faced with a tax hike, Republicans countered by quintupling it and any Democrat that doesn’t trumpet that on every campaign mailer between now and November should fire their campaign manager. I don’t care how much it ‘owns the libs’ and I don’t care how certain you are that Senate Democrats will never take you up on your offer – a 1.5 cent per kilowatt hour tax on renewable energy would raise power bills across the state by up to 20 percent. If Sens. Pickard’s and Hardy’s plan actually passed, it would break family budgets and annihilate commercial and industrial activity throughout the state.” – Columnist David Colborne

(Mr. Muth is president of and publisher of  He blogs at  His views are his own.)


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