weather icon Clear

Chuck Muth: How sneaky legislators are trying to get around Nevada tax restraint law

The tax-hikers in the Nevada Legislature are as unscrupulous as they are relentless.

At issue this time is a pair of cunningly wily bills: Senate Bill 149 and Assembly Bill 375. But before talking about these scams, everyone needs to understand something about how Nevada’s government is set up.

The various counties and cities do NOT have “home rule.” Which means they can’t raise taxes on you and me on their own. Only the Nevada Legislature is supposed to be allowed to do so. So legislators should either change the “home rule” law or follow it – not try to get around it.

Secondly, efforts to RESTRAIN taxes over the years have had no chance of passing in the Legislature – even when Republicans were in charge. So conservatives have been forced to go out and collect signatures – a very expensive and time-consuming process – in order to put tax restraint measures on the ballot.

That includes the Gibbons Tax Restraint Initiative which constitutionally requires a 2/3 super-majority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes that was approved TWICE by Nevada voters.

Now comes the 2017 Legislature…

Washoe County wants a tax hike to fund some flood control projects and Clark County wants a tax hike to fund some transportation projects. But they don’t want to vote to raise taxes (again) themselves. So here’s how they’re trying to sneak around it.

AB 375 and SB 149 would enable UNELECTED local commissions and boards to recommend sales or property tax hikes and REQUIRE the counties to then place those tax hikes on the ballot without gathering signatures the way we citizen-peasants are required to do.

As a reminder, fiscally conservative candidates who sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge when running for office promise their constituents and the people of Nevada that they will “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.” AB 375 and SB 149 are, inarguably, efforts to increase taxes.

SB 149 passed out of the Senate with only Tax Pledge signer Don Gustavson voting against it. And the Assembly passed AB 375 with only Tax Pledge signers Robin Titus, Jim Marchant and Richard McArthur voting “no.”

Now, it doesn’t surprise me that non-Pledge Republicans such as Minority Leader Paul Anderson and Assistant Minority Leader James Oscarson voted for this effort to circumvent and undermine the 2/3 super-majority law. But so did veteran Pledge signer Jim Wheeler!

And it’s not the first time Assemblyman Wheeler-Dealer’s broken his promise. How disappointing. Especially for someone who won his two toughest races against non-Pledge signers based primarily on his signing of the Tax Pledge.

But I guess once you go “native,” get a little taste of power and drink the Kool-Aid, the only thing that matters is political opportunism, not your word. Sad.

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
TIM BURKE: First Amendment rights in danger on major social media platforms

Freedom of expression is one of our most cherished rights. Over the weekend, the conservative social media platform, Parler, headquartered in Henderson, Nevada, was shut down when Amazon turned off the web services that hosted the platform.

Letters to the Editor

Many double standards prevail in political circles

DAN SCHINHOFEN: Open Letter to Nevada House Delegation

To the honorable Representatives of our State. I am taking a moment to write and plead with you to act in the best interest of America rather than your political party. I heard Speaker Pelosi say, on 60 minutes, that one reason to impeach President Trump was so that he could never run again. While your Party has been talking about election interference since 2016 and spent 40 million dollars of our money to investigate “Russian Collusion”, no collusion was found.

Letters to the Editor

Resident disputes timing of trash disposal rate increase

DEBRA J. SAUNDERS: How to start a civil war

President Donald Trump’s supporters didn’t think through what would have happened if they’d succeeded in overturning the legitimate 2020 election.

VICTOR JOECKS: Vaccinate seniors before prisoners

Gov. Steve Sisolak shouldn’t vaccinate felons before senior citizens. Even a casual look at the coronavirus death numbers makes this obvious.

Letters to the Editor

Reader states mural not good use of taxpayer money

DAN SCHINHOFEN: How fragile it all is

If we have not agreed on or learned anything this past year, we should all agree that our freedoms are very fragile. Look at how quickly we conceded our God-given rights to freely exercise our religion, or our right to own property, as in owning a small business. With just a few words from our elected governor, and a declaration here and a directive there we were told it was not safe for us to sing in church. We were directed to close down our business that we spent money, and years of sweat building up to support our families, because we were not deemed “essential”.