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Roberson vs. Roberson

In response to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s announcement this week that he was AGAIN going back on his word about opposing tax hikes by AGAIN extending the “temporary” tax hikes that are supposed to expire next year, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Jane Ann Morrison wrote the following this morning.

“The most humorous reaction was from Sen. Michael Roberson, the likely leader of Republican senators in 2011. He zapped from his memory his vehement objection to those same taxes and praised Sandoval for his leadership.”

Indeed, here’s what Sen. Roberson said this week in a prepared statement about extending the “sunsets”:

“I support Gov. Sandoval and his budget instructions that will not impose new taxes on the people of Nevada. . . . .Gov. Sandoval has outlined a prudent and fiscally responsible preliminary budget framework. I am grateful for his tremendous leadership. I will stand with him and support him.”

“Tremendous leadership”? Oh, puh-lease.

This is embarrassing, especially considering Sen. Roberson’s adamant opposition to extending the sunsets less than nine short months ago – as well as his stated belief back then that it was wrong, harmful and a breach of trust with the citizens of Nevada.

But don’t take my word for it. Take Sen. Roberson’s…

  • Sen. Roberson in 2011:  “The extension of taxes that were due to sunset can be seen as a broken promise to the people of Nevada.”
  • Sen.Roberson in 2011: “[Extending the sunsets] will take $600 million out of the pocket of the private sector.”  (What’s changed since then?  The governor’s proposal will still take $600 million out of the private sector.)
  • Sen.Roberson in 2011: “We could close this budget without tax increases.”  (Um, if you could close out the budget last year without the tax increase, then why not now, especially with the economy improving and tax revenue rising?)
  • Sen.Roberson in 2011: “This tax increase will do nothing to turn our economy around.” (Notice that nine months ago Sen. Roberson admitted that extending the sunsets WAS a tax increase. Now he says it’s not. That said, if the tax hike wouldn’t do anything to turn our economy around nine months ago, why does Sen. Roberson think it will now?)

So why the 360 on the sunsets by Sen. Roberson? Heck, even the liberals over at Nevada Progressive blog see this one from a mile away. GOP leaders, they write, “now seem to be abandoning their formerly beloved teabagger base in a naked ploy to increase their power…”

Exactly. Pure power over inconvenient principle. This is all about Sen. Roberson and Republicans trying to gain the majority in the state Senate in November.

But that raises the question: To what end? What’s the point of having the majority if you’re willing to sacrifice and concede your best, most unifying issue? I mean, if you’re willing to cave in on tax hikes, what else are you willing to buckle on? And how, pray tell, do you advance the conservative, limited government cause by sucking $620 million out of the private sector and giving it to the government?

Oh…by attracting independents in swing districts to help you win? Really?

Now think about that “strategery” for a minute. Independents want their taxes raised and will be angry with a candidate who promises not to raise them? Really? Are you kidding me?

Want me to explode that argument to smithereens? Here, let me use Sen. Roberson himself as the example:

In 2010, Sen. Roberson ran as a hard-core conservative Republican, not a mushy moderate, in a Democrat-majority district. And he wasn’t running for an “open” seat; he was running against a well-funded, strongly-backed, union-endorsed entrenched incumbent. And Sen. Roberson signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Result: Roberson didn’t just squeak by his tax-hiking Democrat opponent; he dusted her by almost 3,000 votes!

So, puh-lease. Can we stop with this BS nonsense that you can’t win swing districts if you promise not to raise taxes? It just ain’t true. Independents don’t want their taxes raised any more than conservatives. And Sen. Roberson himself is proof-positive of that.

And yet, none of his endorsed senate candidates have joined him in signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – and one of them, Assemblyman Scott Hammond, actually voted for the $620 million tax hike in 2011 while his opponent, Assemblyman Richard McArthur, signed the Pledge, kept his word and voted with Sen. Roberson against the tax hike.

Meet the new Republicans; same as the old Republicans. No wonder I’m an independent.


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