Of all the lame excuses and spinning by the seven Republicans who voted for the third largest tax increase in history on Tuesday, the flapdoodle put out by Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea (pronounced goh-coh-cheeya) really takes the cake.
Carolyn Mehring is a solid Republican fixture in Lander County, which is represented by Mr. Goicoechea. And she was none to pleased with his vote for higher taxes…especially considering the much overlooked fact that the room tax advisory question was on the ballot in Lander County – as well as in Clark and Washoe counties – and was roundly defeated by a 2-1 margin.
“The Republican Party ALWAYS has ‘No new or increased taxes’ in it’s platform,” Ms. Mehring reminded Mr. Goicoechea in an email on Wednesday. “Lander County is no exception. I am dismayed at your total disregard for the wishes of the voters in your district.”
To which the Republican assemblyman responded (grammar and punctuation in the original):
“Carolyn, in response to your e-mail how to you suggest I proceed Lander County voted against the room tax increase and will not be impacted by the passage of IP1 . However the portion of Washoe County I also represent voted by a large margin to support the Passage of IP1. I represent the District and the people in it, I would appreciate that you also consider the whole District before starting an e-mail blitz. Washoe County will pay the tax the people in Lander will not. Carolyn I would really appreciate that you forward my response to all the people you forwarded your original e-mail to. Thanks Pete35”
I’m gonna let Clark County GOP Chairman Bernie Zadrowski address the notion that the assemblyman’s votes ought to be determined by a taxpayer-funded public opinion poll in a minute, but let me first address this notion that the people of Lander County had no skin in this game because they won’t be hit with the tax hike.
Every time someone from Lander County goes to Reno or Vegas for a couple of days and stays in a hotel, they’re gonna get hit with the higher tax. Granted, the vast majority of the revenue will come from out-of-state tourists who had no vote in this matter. But Assemblyman Goicoechea’s claim that none of the people of Lander County will be impacted by this tax hike is simply false on its face.
More importantly, if the room tax hike – combined with all the other screw-the-tourists taxes which have been passed in recent years – has the effect of making Las Vegas and Reno less popular as destination stops, that commensurate loss of revenue will hurt the ENTIRE state, including Lander County. If Mr. Goicoechea doesn’t understand that economic reality, he has no business being a Republican, let alone a state legislator.
Now as to the argument that Mr. Goicoechea was just doing what his voters supposedly wanted him to do, I bring you The Great Zadrowski:
“Assemblyman Goicoechea was elected to lead. He was not elected to vote the way he thinks his constituents would vote. We don’t have a democracy, we have a Republic.
“If we had a democracy, the people of his district could just vote for or against whatever they want. He could take a poll of his district and decide who gets the highest percentage and go with that. His constituents don’t need him to do that. If that was what being an elected leader was all about they could be replaced with computers, because there would be no human reasoning, no philosophy (political or otherwise) required.”
“But we don’t have that type of government. We elect our legislators to LEAD, based upon the Republican philosophy of limited government, low taxes, and fiscal responsibility. Assemblyman Goicoechea totally and whole-heartedly abandoned the Republican party with that singular vote. He and 6 of his other fellow legislators.”
Amen, brother Bernie!
But wait, there’s more. In response to Assemblyman Goicoechea’s response, the lovely and talented Ms. Mehring responded:
“So you are willing to sacrifice your Republican principals to appease a few democrat constituents in Washoe? Why? Every Republican platform in the state had no new taxes or tax increases as did the Nevada Republican Party. Therefore I take it you no longer want the support of the Republican Party so you can appease your democrat constituents in Washoe County.”
Excellent point. If Assemblyman Goicoechea and his fellow tax-hiking travelers wish to spit in the eye of the Republican donors, volunteers and voters who worked for his election, then he should stop running as a Republican and run as an “independent.” Or at the very least, campaign on a truth-in-labeling platform of, “If elected, I’ll vote to raise taxes.” Let’s see how well that works out for him.
At this point Assemblyman Goicoechea broke out the patented “The Devil Made Me Do It” defense.
“Carolyn, what am I missing the voters supported IP1 not a new tax platform, the Governor included the new revenues in his budget. The last time I checked he was opposed to new taxes. I do represent all the people in the District not just Repulicans and Democrats sorry you take exception with that. Pete.”
Ah, yes. Thanks a million, Gov. Gibbons. By breaking your own Taxpayer Protection Pledge and backing this tax hike, you’ve encouraged wishy-washy fellow Republicans to raise taxes, as well, and BLAME YOU for it. Nice going, chief.
That said, let me repeat: NOT A SINGLE VOTER VOTED FOR IP-1. It didn’t happen. IP-1 was NOT on the ballot. Anywhere. Period.
Anyway, Ms. Mehring volleyed back with…
“In other words you are a RINO (Republican in Name Only), not a Republican! We voters will remember that next election.”
At which point the honorable assemblyman pretty much accused the Ms. Mehring of having a case of PMS.
“Carolyn apparently you are having a very bad day I hope to see you on Saturday for lunch and discuss my political affiliation. Thanks Pete”
To which Ms. Mehring responded:
“On the contrary, I’m having a great day. It is just that it is way beyond time that elected officials be held accountable to the parties who get them elected for their votes. Yes I look forward to continuing our discussion on Saturday.”
Amen, Sister Carolyn!
These people run as Republicans, use Republican volunteers, take Republican contributions, get elected as Republicans…and then say they’ll govern as “independents” on core party issues no matter what the party says. Seriously, if these people want to be independent, then they should run independently of the Republican Party.
Or as The Great Zadrowski put it…
“It really comes down to this now, and I see no way around it anymore: Do we continue to support our ‘Republican’ leaders by backing them with the Republican Brand? Didn’t we, as county chairs, unanimously sign a resolution urging our legislators not to vote for new taxes? Apparently, the Republican Party is only important to those who voted for this tax when it is convenient for them, but we are an obstacle when it comes to standing up for core Republican principles? Well, my disappointment is self-evident.”
I feel your pain, Chairman.
Isn’t it time for someone to draft a resolution?