The debate over taxes in this country is an infuriating one. The Republicans bumble through existence believing that low taxes are the only things that matter when a business looks to move or expand because it’s only about money and such trivialities as quality of life mean or access to an educated workforce mean bupkis and the Democrats are languishing in a utopia where school district budgets and infrastructure budgets are so massive that we can freely spend our way to a perfect society; the modern American taxpayer, nothing more than a brightly colored plastic token merrily skipping down the path in the liberal equivalent of the classic board game Candyland.
Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recent decision to extend the $620 million in taxes originally set to sunset and include this money in his new biennium budget marks a new direction for the state of Nevada. Sandoval is a popular governor with his constituents, with some polls rating him as high as 63 percent and it is a bold move for him to spend his political capital like this.
As the head of the Nevada Republican party, does this signal a move away from the so-called “conservative” firebrands who run hysterically in circles waving “no-taxes” pledges and threaten to campaign against anyone who doesn’t sign these worthless pledges? Perhaps.
The more moderate wing of the Republican Party has long been vilified for compromising with anyone, but some of the power players in our Legislature are starting to not care. Many of the up-and-coming players on the Nevada political scene such as Sen. Greg Brower R-Reno, Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno and Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas have softened their no taxes stance and are backing Governor Sandoval’s plan.
Sandoval’s 2010 Democrat opponent, Rory Reid delighted in calling Sandoval “Jim Gibbons in a better suit” but that isn’t turning out to be the case. Gone is the bunker mentality, the worn out veto stamp, and the complete refusal to even talk about the obvious fact that our government needs money to run. Republicans have said for decades that government needs to be run like a business, and perhaps they are finally starting to really believe that. If a business in 2012 charged the same prices for their products that they did decades ago, that would quickly lead to insolvency. We have revenue levels that were too low decades ago, and the people in power, as well as the taxpayers are finally starting to accept that.
Sandoval did indeed campaign on a no-new-taxes platform, (although he didn’t sign any frivolous and stupid pledges like those peddled by groups such as the Americans for Tax Reform) and undoubtedly this will become a topic of conversation when he seeks reelection, and like clockwork we will see some so-called “conservative” bound out of the gate promising to undo the damage done by Sandoval and remove him for “lying” and for “breaking promises” to Nevada.
I’m glad to see Sandoval is willing to face this. It puzzles me that in the face of cutting money from budgets that are already nonexistent, there are still those who believe that Nevadans are paying too much.
Contrary to his detractors, I believe Sandoval has done what he could, slicing $500,00 from the final budget approved by former Governor Gibbons and the Democratically controlled legislature.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the stark reality is that Nevada cannot cut any more money from the budget, and although sorely needed, a major overhaul of our tax system will not happen until our economy is healthier and we aren’t in such bad budgetary shape.
Nevada still needs some serious help to not only fix these problems, but to put safeguards in place so they don’t happen again in the future. It is encouraging to me to see Nevada’s CEO starting this conversation. Nevada will once again find its way back onto the path to prosperity, but it’s not going to happen without money in the state treasury.