Democrats love tax hikes because they mean more money for government to do more things. Conservatives loathe tax hikes because they mean more money for government to do more things. Philosophically-challenged Republicans vote for tax hikes because … well, they stand for nothing, so they’ll fall for anything.
Which brings us to how Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature tried to duck voting for a number of tax hikes this session: By passing the buck to local officials. This way they can say “they” didn’t raise taxes; county commissioners did.
Now, these people thought they were being slick by punting the decision and not voting directly to raise taxes, but this ploy is nothing new. In fact, it’s this kind of weaseling by politicians that is expressly prohibited by the wording of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
The Pledge doesn’t say no “new” taxes. And it doesn’t say you’ll only vote against “direct” tax hikes. It reads very clearly as follows:
“I (candidate’s name) pledge to the taxpayers of the (number) district of the state of (name of state) and all the people of this state that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
You see, there’s no wiggle room in the Pledge … which is the main reason why so many wimpy Republicans are so scared to death to put their John Hancock where their mouths are. Because a vote to allow someone else to raise taxes is still a vote in support of an effort to increase taxes. Period.
And this is why the Tax Pledge is so effective in holding the feet to the fire of elected officials who sign it. There are no loopholes. No escape hatches. No Clintonian parsing. Straight up; plain English. You know what you’re going to get from most candidates who sign it. On the other hand …
“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.”
In the just-concluded legislative session, Gov. Sandoval — aided and abetted by weak and lazy Democrats and a majority of Republicans in the Legislature — once again raised taxes by re-imposing some $620 million worth of “temporary” tax hikes rather than make tough spending decisions.
But not all legislators chose the weak and lazy way out. In fact, none of the Tax Pledge signers voted to extend the “sunsets.” On the other hand, every legislator who did vote to raise your taxes refused to sign the Pledge.
(Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)